Funding boost will see Morecambe art project expand

September 8, 2016

A Morecambe group that increases wellbeing in the community through regular art classes has received a boost from the Care UK wellbeing foundation that will see it expand.

Innovate Art, part of the charity West End Impact, holds sessions at its Heysham Road centre that include lessons, guests speakers and individual art projects. The sessions, open to all, have particularly benefited people experiencing anxiety and depression, with participants saying it provides great therapy and a place to relax and meet new friends.

Manager Tracy Kohl said: “The group’s teacher is qualified to run an NHS accredited cognitive behavioural therapy programme and we find the art sessions improve self-esteem and build confidence as well as being a lot of fun. She’s very empathetic and this very generous grant from the foundation enables us to continue employing her, as well as being able to buy more and better quality art equipment that’ll enable us to open the sessions to more people.”

As well as practical activities, the group has discussions and provides peer-led support so that people can help and work alongside each other.

As well as practical activities, the group has discussions and provides peer-led support so that people can help and work alongside each other.

Tracy says there’s a real sense of community among the current 15 participants: “The topics are decided by the group and we talk about what we would like to learn. Some people have a broad experience in art and some are novices. Whatever their experience, they’re surprised and delighted at what they achieve.

“The lessons are designed so that everyone can join in and the non-taught sessions see people working on their own projects. We have very broad topics which can be interpreted in any way the individual wishes. We have found this informal, friendly approach means the group is a very relaxing environment and people feel comfortable exploring new ideas and techniques.”

As well as practical activities, the group has discussions and provides peer-led support so that people can help and work alongside each other. Tracy added: “We also provide help, support and advice for those who want to take their work further and maybe look to sell it through the centre.”

Care UK wellbeing foundation board secretary, Rosemary Harvey, said: “The board members are delighted that our grant will allow this worthwhile project to expand. The foundation was set up to help organisations increase wellbeing through the arts and this project brings the joy of art to those who are interested in learning more, as well as those who benefit from the therapeutic elements of the sessions.”

Local grass roots charities are encouraged to apply for a grant from the foundation for anything from £50 to £2,000.

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