Well-being through creative activity

Where are we going with this?

Managers Blog: Where are we going with this?

I often ask myself where is S2C going? By that I mean what is the ultimate goal, what would we like to be doing. In some respects we have so much going on and yet in other ways there is just a core. The core is the drop in for people who are struggling with mood, self confidence, esteem, loneliness, isolation, illness. We run those drop in session continuously and numbers go up and down week by week. That was the whole point. No pressure and no requirement just an opportunity and a safe place to go.

But then there is all the other things we make happen or give opportunity to happen. The gallery space has given many of our service users and local artists the opportunity to exhibit, sometimes for the first time, in a safe and supported space without a great deal of pressure. Particularly for our service users who are often anxious about being exposed to scrutiny. The space is and has been used to make groups happen that otherwise might not have. County Council adult education courses, Cumbria Mental Health Team group sessions. We help an art group for adults with learning difficulties by giving them space to do art after their premises were flooded. There is a massage business that’s just started up we help by giving cheap space, a meditation group that couldn’t find affordable places to meet.

Artists hire space to run training and art courses and we work with a local gallery to run a dementia group at the unit. Local arts groups put on exhibitions with us. We get involved in local festivals and events and we run sessions at the local hospital. We exhibit art work at the Leisure Centre and in local GP surgeries.

All this shows that in a way we are becoming a creative community centre and perhaps that’s where we should aim to go. A safe and welcoming place in the community where anyone can come to be creative, show creativity, enable creativity, promote creativity and above all give opportunity to the vulnerable in the community to recover, grow and belong.

All this takes volunteers and staff. As we grow and add new things it all needs extra volunteers to make it happen. For the first time in the last year we have had some paid staff undertaking specific roles and where funding allows this needs to develop and continue.

At the end of all that though, the main purpose of all this is people. If in any given week we help one person feel more positive about themselves and confident which means they survive the week then it has been worth the effort.

Some of the artwork from the last week:

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