A gallery? An arts for wellbeing Charity? A mental health charity?………….Yes!
Some people do question what we actually are as a Charity as we seem to have a variety of strings to the old bow. Yes we do but we feel it all comes together under the heading of Creative Wellbeing, its just there are more than one way to achieve this. At it’s heart is a simple commitment to provide easy to access supportive creative opportunities for those vulnerable who need to begin to get out and be involved in society. Those who need to find a reason to be, a safe space where they are welcomed and not pressured. A place where shattered confidence and loneliness can be addressed. We have no targets, no demands, no expectations other than a person comes and feels welcome in our community.
Our roots are in mental health and mental health is a big part of what we are involved with but it is not a defining statement. We find that many different illness and misfortunes result in similar consequences for the vulnerable adults we see. Whatever the cause social isolation, loneliness, reduced esteem and confidence, lack of friends, anxiety, fear, and many other factors are common consequences of many different situations. From a mental health problem to a serious physical illness, old age to unemployment, divorce to redundancy……the outcomes, through no fault of the individual, are often similar. We try to provide a safe, creative, supportive and welcoming space to help those individuals start the journey back to having purpose and being part of the community.
We also are a gallery space. In the work we do, what better way to raise esteem and confidence than to have your work on show? What better way to develop a creative atmosphere than to be surrounded by amazing artwork? what better way to be part of the community than to bring the community into the space? What better way to challenge stigma and raise awareness?
We also provide space for other groups. At the moment this includes a group for adults with learning disabilities, a message therapist, a meditation group, a dementia group, Adult Education Service, a Dementia Group and the local Mental Health Team run courses. Why should we have the space empty when we haven’t the resources to fill it when it could benefit vulnerable people through facilitating other groups which might otherwise not happen because of venue costs?
The gallery is proving to have increasing popularity and I am already blocking in exhibitions and events for twelve months in advance. Exhibitions already in place or being planned include (in order of happening) Tracy Escolme with two of our service users, “In The Moment” Dementia group, an abstract art exhibition, a fundraiser for S2C and Leonard Cheshire, a book illustration launch, a project by local artists on a Wordsworth inspired book, South Lakeland Artists Community “Reflections” exhibition, Kendal Arts Community and all sorts of short one off events that display the very best of our creativity and that by artists in the local community.
Last week at S2C: