How Comic Relief Helped Our Women’s Group

A PR officer from Comic Relief and Groundwork recently got in touch to ask us about the impact their funding had on our group at The Sunflower Women’s Centre.

What issue does the project aim to change/address?

We tackle social isolation and common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

How does the project addresses this issue?

We offer mindful art groups in community venues, often at no cost to the individual client.

Each group lasts for an hour and a half. We start with a “check-in” where everyone gets a chance to say how they are feeling, but there is no obligation to talk if you don’t want to. Then we do five minutes of guided mindfulness. Then we do five minutes of mindful drawing, (which is drawing with our eyes closed!) Then we do a simple art project that anyone can do, and have a chat. At most groups there is an opportunity to get a tea or coffee. Art projects might include making a greeting card, drawing a mandala, mindful doodling (zentangles), or making a collage. Artistic talent is not necessary – it’s about having fun.

What activities or events do you carry out as part of the project?

At the moment we have five weekly groups, three are funded, two we run on a volunteer basis while we seek funding. We also host one day mindful art retreats, and sometimes run an eight week wellbeing course. Sometimes we offer online wellbeing sessions using Zoom.

The Comic Relief Community fund allowed us to deliver 12 weekly mindful art groups at The Sunflower Women’s Centre. The issues being tackled were social isolation and poor mental health. We addressed these problems by using creative activities to make it easier for clients to engage in meaningful conversations.

What impact has the project had on the community? Please provide specific examples or testimonials where possible.

We regularly receive great verbal feedback and written feedback that shows we are reducing social isolation and helping to improve mental health. (Lots of quotes here.)  

“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

“Thank you Peggy and Emma for running the mindfulness art group, it has helped me so much and I’ve enjoyed each session. I struggle with anxiety and depression and I’ll miss our groups at Sunflower as it’s helped a lot and has been a great group to be in. Sending much love and hugs to you both. You’re both lovely ladies”. – Vikki

What difference has Comic Relief funding made to the project?

This funding allowed us to run 12 weeks of in-person support groups at the Sunflower Women’s Centre, when lockdown restrictions began to ease in April 2021. 

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.

What is next for your organisation?

We are currently applying for funding to fund further sessions at The Sunflower Women’s Centre and a follow-on group at Royal William Yard. We have just started a 12 week project offering mindful art groups at a local homelessness charity. We are also running a six week ‘Doodle Your Recovery’ course for Devon Recovery Learning Community. 

Want us to let you know when we start a local group near you? Sign up to our monthly newsletter and get free mindful colouring pages here.

New Course: Ivybridge

Learn to practice relaxation exercises and art for self-care at The Salvation Army in Ivybridge. Each session includes five minutes of guided mindfulness, five minutes of mindful drawing, a simple art project, and the opportunity to chat and relax.

This weekly art group gives people the opportunity to share their feelings, practice mindfulness, create art, relax and chat. Doodle Your Recovery:

  • Improves mental health
  • Improves social connection
  • Teaches new skills (relaxation exercises and art for self care).

We start with a ‘check in’ to see how everyone is feeling. There is no obligation to speak if you don’t want to. This is followed by some guided mindfulness, then a simple art project which anyone can do e.g., drawing Zentangles or paisley, or making a greeting card.

We end the group with a ‘check out’ to share how everyone is feeling after practicing mindfulness and making art.

This free 6 week, in-person course will start on Tuesday 22nd June, then 29th June, 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th July.

Book here.

NB: Bookings for this course will open on Monday 24th May.

Update: This course has been postponed due to changing Covid-19 guidelines.

Funded by Devon Recovery Learning Community.

Providing a Lifeline to Those in Need

Mindful Art Club has provided a lifeline to people across Plymouth facing mental health challenges – and now our group is back operating in the community.

For Mental Health Awareness Week Plymouth Live has published a feature article explaining that we were gutted when a drug and alcohol rehab centre announced its shock closure two years ago.

“Having worked at Broadreach House for several years, (Emma and Peggy) had been able to support people from all walks of life and had seen first-hand how beneficial different creative activities could be for people struggling with their mental health and other issues.

Wanting to continue to serve the community and support people facing challenges in their lives, the colleagues teamed up to launch a “mindfulness art club” to support people manage their anxiety, stress and other mental health issues in a relaxed and safe creative environment.

The club became particularly popular at the start of 2020 and soon became a lifeline for members, with many people relishing the opportunity to connect with others in a non-judgemental environment while being able to talk freely about how they’re feeling and any stresses or anxieties in their lives.”

Read the full article on Plymouth Live, The Plymouth Herald website.

Women’s Art Group in Plymouth

Our mindful art courses at The Sunflower Women’s Centre are six weeks long, and free of charge to the participants, thanks to funding from The Sunflower Women’s Centre, and funding from Comic Relief.  Each weekly session is an hour and a half long.

Phone The Sunflower Women’s Centre to get on the waiting list. Tel: 01752 977614 (Leave a message).

What to bring: Your own felt tip pens, hand sanitiser if you wish. Coffee and tea is provided.

The Sunflower Women’s Centre, The Gables, 29 Sutherland Road, Plymouth, PL4 6BW.

Cost: Free to women registered with The Sunflower Women’s Centre.

Two Art Groups to Start Next Week

As lockdown begins to ease we are able to start two new support groups next week, bearing in mind the ongoing restrictions.

Sunflower Women’s Centre

On Monday afternoons we are starting a small, socially distanced group for four women at a time, thanks to new funding from Comic Relief. These will be at The Sunflower Women’s Centre, 29 Sutherland Road, Plymouth PL4 6BW. To secure your free place on a six week mindful art course call The Sunflower Centre on 01752 977614 and leave a voicemail, asking to be put on the waiting list for Mindful Art Club.

The Clipper, Union Street

The Clipper is Omnium Radio’s Community Hub, at 65 Union Street, Plymouth PL1 3LU.

We will be holding weekly sessions at The Clipper from 9.30am to 11.00am every Friday thanks to Community Sparks Funding from Stronger North Stonehouse. These start on Friday 19th March and you can come to one session at a time, rather than committing to a six week course.

We will be holding the first couple of sessions as non-booked sessions, however bear in mind under current COVID rules we can only have 15 participants in the support session. We will adjust any rules along with COVID restrictions changes. You must bring your own food and drink, and face mask during current guidelines. Once guidelines are eased, The Clipper cafe will be open for refreshments.

Listen to Emma’s interview on Omnium Radio to find out more about this new group.

We also continue to offer Zoom on Tuesdays funded by your individual donations.

Mindful Art Club:

  • Improves mental health
  • Improves social connection
  • Teaches new skills: mindfulness and art for self care

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.

Good News if You Don’t Like Support Groups

Are you wary of support groups?

Do you hate people looking at you?

Dislike feeling pressured to speak?

We get it.

Listen now: Trace Jared-Davis and Emma Sprawson talk about why Mindful Art Club is different, and why social connections are now more important than ever.  You will also learn why you don’t need to be Van Gogh to join in with this art club.

This interview was first broadcast on Omnium Radio, Plymouths Community Radio on o5th March 2021. The full interview is below.

The new group launches Friday 19th March 2021.

How We Started Offering Immediate Mental Health Support, Without Any Waiting Lists

When Emma and Peggy suddenly lost the jobs they loved, they started a business on a shoestring, to offer mindful art groups, support mental health and tackle social isolation in the Plymouth area.

Mental health services were already overstretched and the pandemic has made that even worse. Mindful Art Club gives people a way to access help and support immediately, without a waiting list, and without finances being a barrier to access.

Emma and I are helping to create a world where peer support, mindfulness, creative activities, and social connection is more easily available in local communities. 

Peggy Melmoth

Watch Now:

If you’ve ever felt stressed, anxious or depressed, we have a free downloadable mindful colouring bundle with zen doodling exercises for you. Just enter your email now to receive our colouring bundle today, and we will write to you monthly to let you know about our latest free and low-cost events in the Plymouth area.

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Our Plans For Lockdown

November Lockdown: We have made the difficult decision to postpone our in-person meetings for the moment. We will continue to offer our weekly online group via Facebook and Zoom every Tuesday at 10am. Participants can watch live on Facebook, or message us for the Zoom link.  Let’s stay connected! Our Facebook page is Facebook.com/MindfulArtClub

Wellbeing Course Postponed

We are still taking bookings for our new wellbeing course at Plympton Rees Wellbeing Hub. However, the start date has been postponed to Tuesday 8th December 2020

We hope to be back in the community offering support, mindfulness and art as soon as possible.

Keep safe.

Peggy and Emma

New Group: Royal William Yard

Want to learn to manage stress in a creative way?

Want to meet new people without feeling awkward?

Want to relax your busy mind, without the practice and discipline needed for meditation?

You just found the easy answer!

Our new art group at 1pm on Friday afternoons at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, offers a safe, easy-going space to have coffee, try guided mindfulness and do some art, just for fun. There is absolutely no talent required, so if you haven’t done anything creative since school that’s fine. It really is the taking part that counts. (Sorry for sounding so cliched but it’s true!)

Booking

Booking is essential due to restricted numbers during the pandemic. Message us to confirm your place. The group costs £2.00

If you arrive around 12.45pm you can grab a coffee at the Ocean Studios Cafe, then head upstairs to the Event Space on the right, where you will find Mindful Art Club. You will need to wear a mask to enter the café, but once you are seated at our (socially distanced) art table you can remove your mask for the duration of the group.

How to find us

Ocean Studios, The Factory Cooperage, Royal William Yard, Plymouth PL1 3RP. 

Plymouth city centre is 20-minute walk or a 12-minute cycle away. Find us at The Factory Cooperage, opposite Las Iguanas with the red telephone box. 

Drive  

From Plymouth City Centre take A374 to Durnford Street in Stonehouse. From Cornwall take the Tamar Bridge, A38, A3064, B3396 and A374, continue onto Durnford St until you reach the yard. There are plenty of Pay and Display car parking spaces at Royal William Yard. 

Bus  

The number 34 bus travels from the city centre and stops at the Royal William Yard roundabout.

Boat  

The ferry runs every hour from the Barbican to Royal William Yard, or you can travel from Cornwall on the Cremyll Ferry to Stonehouse. 

Read more details about accessibility at Ocean Studios.

Feeling unsure? Send us a message and we can chat. We’d love to see you there.

How to Reduce Stress in 8-Weeks (or Less!)

Do you suffer from stress or worry?

Want to practice art for self-care?

Looking for a fun and easy way to learn mindfulness?

Then you’re going to love our new 8-week wellbeing course!

We’ve been testing this course out on a small group of people who agreed to give us feedback on the course content. Here’s what they told us;

The ‘work’ we did with Emma and Peggy in the group gently helped us to listen to ourselves and each other.
On the surface the art projects are simple, and the mindfulness gentle….. but I allowed myself to let go of preconceptions and BE IN THE MOMENT within the group. I was amazed at how my child-like art work was just what I needed to get in touch with my inner healing me.
The mindful training got me so interested, that I now start my day with mindful meditation.
As with most groups you get out as much as you put in… I have ‘worked hard’. I have listened and shared, and supported other members of the group. I am leaving with mindfulness a part of my daily life, and am more confident in trying new art practices. I also have a new set of friends.

Wellbeing Course Student

The next course begins on 17th November 2020, in Plympton, at The Rees Centre. Places are very limited due to Covid-19 safety measures, so it will be first-come, first-served. In the New Year 2021 this course will be on sale at £120. However, for this month only we are offering the course at HALF PRICE!  £59 for eight weeks, including all of the course materials.

EDIT: Due to the UK November lockdown this course will now start on 8th December 2020.

Read more: Brand New Mindful Art Wellbeing Course