Surprise Donation From Plymouth Art Students

We have just received a generous and unexpected donation from the final year Fine Art students at Plymouth University.

They recently completed their degree show with Plymouth University on the Fine Art course. Prior to lockdown they raised some funds with a bake sale in order to provide them with funds for a suitable venue to host their final degree show.

After searching for a venue, they eventually found one free of charge at the Royal William Yard in Ocean Studios… meaning their funds were still untouched.

So with some funds leftover, they decided as a cohort to donate to a group or charity which they really felt linked with their own work and efforts in their show. A common theme of their work was ‘anxiety’ and ‘mindfulness’ as well as ‘self- awareness’.

So we decided to donate our unused funds to a great cause, I hope this helps in any way possible. I thought it might be nice to give you a back story… Best wishes, all our love,

Fine Art Plymouth Cohort 2021 xx

The ‘Under Current Circumstances’ University of Plymouth
Fine Art Degree Show was from June 20th – June 24th (2021)

You can see their artwork on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/uop_fineart/

On behalf of all of our clients Peggy and Emma would like to thank these fine art graduates for their very kind and unexpected donation.

New Art Groups to Start After Lockdown

Who are Mindful Art Club?

Are they a business, a charity, a CIC or a community group?

And what are they going to do next?!

Mindful Art Club® is an unincorporated association. We have a small group constitution and a management committee. We recently held our annual general meeting to report on the organisation’s activities. The three trustees were present: Emma, Peggy and Clare, and the minutes were circulated to our regular volunteers, Lee and Linda.

First Emma reported on our funding bids. We were unsuccessful in two bids since the last general meeting. However we have been successful in bids with Comic Relief, Sparks Community Fund and have also received £250 from Plymouth Octopus Project. Emma is about to submit another bid to POP and a bid for Arts Council funding to run two groups.

Because of this funding Peggy reported that the following groups will begin after the current lockdown restrictions end.

  1. Sunflower Women’s Centre on Mondays, funded by Comic Relief.
  2. Zoom on Tuesdays funded by individual donations.
  3. Ivybridge Salvation Army to start after lockdown, funded by DRLC
  4. Emma to start a Friday group at The Clipper in Union Street, Plymouth funded by Sparks Community Fund.
  5. Various online courses to be funded by Devon Recovery Learning Community.
  6. Friday afternoons at Ocean Studios to be funded by Community Sparks Fund.
  7. Rees Centre, wellbeing course, Tuesday evenings funded by individuals.

Since our last meeting we have networked with a lot of different community organisations including Devon Mind, the Wolsley Trust social prescribers, Plymouth Argyle, Shekinah Mission, Devon Recovery Learning Community and The Clipper.

We have decided to invest in regular professional supervision meetings with a mindfulness teacher, retreat host and counsellor.

We have written a six week course, Doodle Your Recovery, and a three week course Zen Doodles for DRLC which will be run on Zoom.

We have joined the Loneliness Action Group with Labour councillor Kate Taylor, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care.

We have been featured in The Plymouth Chronicle twice and Emma has been on PTown Radio and Omnium Radio.

We celebrated one year in business with a dinner party, and made a video of it and sent thank you cards as a PR activity. We promoted our anniversary on our website and social media.

And finally, Emma and Peggy have both completed a five week business course called AWE Sofa Sessions with Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs.  Emma is now going to study the Nuts and Bolts of Business course with them.

To find out about when our next online courses and real life groups are launching join our mailing list now. As a thank you for joining, we’ll instantly send you a mindful colouring bundle with meditative art activities inside, to try at home.

Community Sparks Funds Mindful Art Club

It was great to see ourselves in The Stronger North Stonehouse Journal this month after winning a grant from their Community Sparks Fund to run mindful art groups in Stonehouse, Plymouth.

Stronger North Stonehouse is an initiative bringing local people together to create a stronger, safer and friendlier community in North Stonehouse, Plymouth. The Community Sparks Fund has just funded over 20 projects!

The scheme received 30 funding applications ranging from £150 to the maximum of £3,000.

All applications were assessed by a panel made up of members of the Safer Stonehouse Board and independent judges. The panel was asked to make recommendations based on the merit of the potential impact they could have in the community.

We have been awarded £1000 to deliver two different, weekly art groups in the Stonehouse area. One will be at The Clipper, Omnium Radio’s Community Hub, in Union Street. The other will be at Ocean Studios. Located in the historic surroundings of Royal William Yard, Ocean Studios is home to an array of resident and visiting artists who regularly host workshops, exhibitions and events for Plymouth’s creative community. We are able to work at Ocean Studios thanks to winning a place on the Start Something project, run by the Real Ideas Organisation.

The grant will help us to buy art materials, and market the project so that we can reach as many Stonehouse residents as possible. The funding will also allow us to cover our ongoing costs such as administration, staff time, project planning, insurance, and project impact evaluation.

These Stonehouse venues are large enough to allow socially distanced support groups to take place. Although the UK is currently experiencing a mental health crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, personal finances can be a barrier to local people needing to access support. This grant will help us to offer our services to people struggling with poor mental health, social isolation, poverty or addiction.

If you would like a place in one of these Stonehouse groups, which will be up and running after the current lockdown restrictions end, please contact us now. Places are limited.

Comic Relief to Fund Womens Group

We are pleased to have been granted new funding to offer mindful art sessions to any Plymouth women in need of support.

The Comic Relief Community Fund offer help for projects that are in line with their theme of Mental Health Matters. These are projects that support good mental health in communities, improve access to support and tackle stigma and discrimination.

This funding will allow us to deliver 12 weekly mindful art groups at The Sunflower Women’s Centre. The issues being tackled are social isolation and poor mental health. We address these problems by using creative activities to make it easier for clients to engage in meaningful conversations.

The Sunflower is a trauma-informed women’s wellbeing hub, providing opportunities for any woman who has support needs.  Women receive support in addressing and resolving substance abuse, childhood trauma, criminogenic behaviours, domestic violence or poor mental health. The centre offers a range of therapeutic activities, accredited programmes and practical support in a safe, nurturing, substance-free and valuing space for women to move from their pasts, develop their skills, regain their self-worth and go on to flourish and thrive. The Sunflower Centre has over 500 registered service users.

Mindful Art Club will offer these women peer support for common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. New friendships are formed in our groups which combat social isolation, and we will also teach new skills such as how to use mindfulness and art for self care.

We would not have received this funding without the generous help and support of the staff at The Sunflower Women’s Centre, and the funding advisors at POP. POP ideas is a service delivered by POP+ and Iridescent Ideas CIC that provides advice for small, large, new or established voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Plymouth. 

Page 10, Plymouth Chronicle January 2021

If you’d like a place on one of these groups after the current lockdown ends, you will need to register with The Sunflower Women’s Centre and ask to be added to the waiting list for Mindful Art Club. Their staff is limited during lockdown, but you can leave a message at 01752 977614 . Groups at The Sunflower Centre are small, socially distanced, and organised with a number of Covid-19 safety measures in place. These sessions are permitted by current law, as support groups.

Here’s what some of our previous clients at The Sunflower Centre have said about us:

“I have found this group very helpful in my recovery. My biggest problem is ISOLATION. So to have this group is a lifeline. I also struggle with substance misuse, although, (thanks to help), I am clean and sober. It is nice to have a space that is non-judgmental where we can check in and connect.
I love art anyway, and find it very relaxing and engaging. But it’s so much more therapeutic to do it with others. Many thanks.”

Anna (Shared with permission).

Double Win For Community Art Group

We were pleased to see we’ve hit the headlines again, on page 11 of The Plymouth Chronicle. You can read the latest issue online.

Double Win for Community Art Group

Plymouth’s first and only Mindful Art Club are celebrating receiving £250 funding, and £3000 worth of business support. The £250 was awarded to them by Plymouth Octopus Project, to cover some of their volunteer expenses, and the year-long business support package has been offered to them by The Real Ideas Organisation.

Peggy Melmoth and Emma Sprawson had only been running community art groups for a few months when the coronavirus lockdown forced them to cancel all of their groups. They immediately began offering online versions of all their sessions using Zoom video conferencing software and broadcasting to Facebook Live. Before lockdown their groups had been part-funded by individual voluntary donations, but since the end of March 2020 Peggy and Emma have been running the groups purely as a volunteers.

When lockdown restrictions began to ease in July, they started running small outdoor mindful art groups in a park in Plympton, and then in August they launched a new weekly group at The Sunflower Women’s Centre in Plymouth. They now run four weekly groups around Plympton and Plymouth, and continue to run their free online group for those who can’t make it to a real-life session.

“We started Mindful Art Club to improve mental health and social connection in the Plymouth community by offering mutual aid support groups, and teaching mindfulness and art for self-care. We were literally trying to fight social isolation at a time when we were all advised to isolate ourselves!”

Peggy

“We used to be part of the support team at Broadreach House addiction treatment centre. When Broadreach closed last year we were both made redundant, but decided that we still wanted to use our skills to support people in the community.”

Emma

In October The Real Ideas Organisation offered a number of free membership packages worth over £3,000 each, to entrepreneurial people with ideas that they thought could become brilliant businesses. To apply for a fully funded Start Something membership Peggy and Emma submitted a written business proposal and a three minute video outlining their ideas.

Peggy said, “We are so excited to win this, and are really looking forward to networking with the other businesses that won a place.”

The fully funded membership package from Real Ideas gives Mindful Art Club access to workspace at Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard, business support mentors and access to events, workshops and one to one coaching. The Start Something project is part of the iMayflower project and has been supported by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England.

Emma said, “Just after winning the Start Something membership we also received £250 funding from Plymouth Octopus Project (POP), which covers some of our expenses volunteering at The Sunflower Women’s Centre.”

POP offers funding advice, business and planning support to Plymouth’s voluntary sector.

The Sunflower Women’s Centre is a women’s only outreach centre set up by Trevi House in 2016. Sunflower is a trauma-informed women’s wellbeing hub, providing opportunities for any woman who has support needs.

“We have been very happy to have had Peggy and Emma come into the Sunflower Women’s Centre  and give their time volunteering to run their wonderful Mindful Art group for our women.  This has been a valuable service and given many of our women support and some purpose and stability, with their patience and gentle listening ears during the lockdown period.”

Paula Carnell, Team Lead

To keep updated about Mindful Art Club’s latest weekly groups, online sessions and wellbeing courses sign up to the mailing list in the top right corner. We’ll send you some mindful colouring pages to soothe your mind while at home!

We Won a Year’s Business Support From RIO!

We also want to share some other great news that we got onto the Start Something project with the Real Ideas Organisation. We are now linked in with Ocean Studios at the Royal William Yard, which is a beautiful space to hold Mindful Art Club sessions.

RIO were offering 10 free membership packages worth over £3,000 each to entrepreneurial people with ideas that they thought could become brilliant businesses.

The fully funded membership package from Real Ideas gives us access to their co-working spaces, specialist facilities, expert business support mentors and access to events, workshops and one to one coaching. 

So, we will be getting some expert business advice, as well as being part of a creative community. It was lovely meeting other creative people at the team event last week and I’m looking forward to developing these relationships.

Good News: Funding!

Some exciting news for Mindful Art Club this week. We have received £250 from Plymouth Octopus Project to help us run our weekly sessions at The Sunflower Women’s Centre, in Plymouth. POP offers support and advice to to the voluntary sector in Plymouth, and have already helped us so much this year with advice on writing our funding bids.

Thanks for your letters of support to enable us to get this funding.


Science: Does Mindfulness Work?

I have just completed my studies at Level 3 in counselling. During the course we had to write an assignment about an area of research that interested us. I thought I would share an excerpt here.

Peggy

Explain why research findings are important in counselling work

At the moment, I am particularly interested in looking at research into the use of mindfulness in counselling. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, without judgement. During my level three counselling training we often began the day’s learning with a group mindfulness session. With my business partner, Emma, I run a community support group called Mindful Art Club, which offers a “check in”, some guided mindfulness, and mindful drawing practice. We then encourage the group to do a simple art project that requires no talent or experience. Members chat informally about their current thoughts and feelings. We then end the group with a “check out”.

When we seek charitable funding to run these groups we have offered both quantitative and qualitative research findings to the funders. We have surveyed our membership, using two client evaluation tools; the PHQ-9 Depression and GAD-7 Anxiety questionnaires. We have also done a few in-depth case studies of individuals, during which the clients described their experiences in their own written words. However, this is a very small data sample; so scientific research papers, with a large data sample size, demonstrating the efficacy of mindfulness would also be helpful to us. A search on the BACP website offers over 300 articles related to mindfulness. I found an interesting article that says mindfulness can be helpful regardless of a client’s presenting problem. (Kamila Hortynska 2014). To back up her article she references 20 different sources including books, websites, professional journals, research papers and NICE guidelines.

Using this as a starting point for my investigation, I can see that there is an abundance of research available related to mindfulness in counselling. From Hortynska’s article we can learn that research has resulted in mindfulness being approved by NICE, and is now used in schools, for corporate employees, for the treatment of depression, was offered as taster sessions in parliament, and is now offered in some statutory services, thanks to a research project at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University. (Bangor University 2014). Their website refers to research papers describing a randomized control trial of stress reduction in the workplace, and the initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance. Research papers like these would help us to explain to a corporation the potential value of commissioning a mindfulness course for stress reduction in their workplace.

Research findings provide useful and valuable evidence of the efficiency of various new and existing counselling theories and methods, which can benefit and inform counsellors, clients, funders, companies, agencies, charities, health services, policy makers and government organisations.

References.

  1. Hortynska, Kamila (2014) Being With What Is, Private Practice, Winter 2014, (accessed 12/06/2020.) https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/private-practice/winter-2014/being-with-what-is/
  2. Bangor University, Mindfulness in the Workplace. www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/work.php.en (accessed 12/06/2020).

Art Club Wins #NationalLottery Funding

We are  pleased to announce we have won some #NationalLottery funding to deliver mindful art classes to those in recovery from addiction. This will allow us to offer weekly classes at the reduced rate of £2.00 per session at The Harbour Centre, starting 14th February2020.

Harbour are keen to invite people working a 12 step program to these sessions, to encourage their service users to try fellowship meetings.

Fridays

Harbour Drug & Alcohol Services, Hyde Park House, Mutley Plymouth, Devon, PL4 6LF

Create Your Recovery – This session is for people in recovery from substance dependency, offered at the reduced rate of £2.00 per session.

Fridays, 1.00pm – 2.30pm Starting Friday 14th February 2020