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Right Time for Art

046Reach Inclusive Arts run a project for older people (65+) with mental health issues which is beneficial on their journey towards recovery when resuming community living after stays in hospital. The value of arts activities is well documented and has proven efficacy for improving the self-esteem of people with mental health issues. The project involves regular sessions in a range of visual arts and crafts. The artists employed are experienced at working with vulnerable people with a range of abilities. Many of the group have experience of art therapy from their stays in hospital and these sessions allow them to develop their skills in a regular social group. The table top activities have proved effective at helping to develop fine motor skills and giving the participants the confidence to try other pursuits and expand their own assessment of their capabilities and creative potential. A healthy percentage of the group have been completely discharged from the mental health services and none have been readmitted to hospital. Several call themselves artists and have developed their interest significantly.

Participants comments have included “Being invited to do this makes me feel valued”, “This is better than a box of pills” and “I would never have believed that I could come to a group like this”. In 2012 the group were commissioned by the Wyvern Theatre to produce an exhibition of their original work with a “ticket” theme” and this was a great success which garnered a lot of publicity. There was a gala launch for the exhibition with a nationally famous artist which received press coverage. As a result in 2012 the group were asked by Sisk, the construction company, to design and produce a 16 x 16 mural for an office block construction project in the town which was mounted on their hoarding in 2013. The mural has been of particular local interest and provides tremendous colour in the town during the building works.