Each month we’re celebrating some of the community champions we’ve supported in the region.
LS14 Trust is a community organisation that works to make positive change in communities across Seacroft, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor. Their Art Room project is a community based, free art therapy service for adults and families who are offered twelve weeks of therapy either in groups or on a 1-1 basis.
Here, Mike tells us more about the project and how a Leeds Fund Strategic Grant awarded by Leeds Community Foundation provided vital support.
Why is this project needed?
Mental health is a contributing factor to overall well being. The positive effects of mental wellbeing is well documented as being a fundamental driver for an individual and a community to flourish. Poor mental well being can impact on a person’s and a community’s ability to recover, replenish, be sustainable and live life to the full.
Some of the benefits of having a creative psychotherapeutic service in the local community are:
– Accessibility, locally situated in a non clinical setting puts people at ease.
– Situating a mental health service in the heart of the community makes the statement that mental health is an important and integral part of our community and therefore reduces stigma, encourages acceptance and makes it also ‘Ok not to be Ok’.
– Provides a collective ownership of individual and community wellbeing.
What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve had?
Doreen attends LS14 Trust regularly and volunteers in the cafe, helps with painting and decorating and crotchets purses to raise money for The Art Room as she feels strongly about making a contribution towards its sustainability. She says here she is able to feel part of life and not just someone being ‘tolerated’ with their mental health. Recently, on hearing that one of the therapist’s relatives was unwell, she contacted her to say ‘remember what you have said to me – be kind to yourself’. This was a touching moment of kindness from one human being to another and an indication that while we always maintain therapy protocols and boundaries, the therapy project is beginning to be seen as part of the community.
What difference has funding from Leeds Community Foundation made?
Through LCF’s grant we have been able to increase the number of people who regularly visit the LS14 Trust, with many becoming regular attendees at the cafe, and users of our digital space. Some have even gone on to help the trust by becoming regular volunteers. The grant has also enabled us to be responsive to individual and collective needs, which has allowed the therapy to be offered as a truly person-centred experience and support clients beyond the therapy itself.
What’s coming up for you?
We will be working with other third sector organisations across the city to help raise awareness and develop Art Therapy in different community settings.
We are facilitating an number of new groups at The LS14 Trust that will provide an opportunity for clients who have been through Art Therapy to integrate with the wider community. As part of our asset based community development, we are are currently working on creating a number of SRGs (self reliant groups) that will hopefully provide sustainable social networks for local residents.
We are also working with Leeds Beckett University and NHS Sheffield to inform Masters students who are part of Northern Programme for Arts Psychotherapy about the impact of art therapy and how art therapy can work in community settings.
To find out more or donate please visit www.theleedsfund.org.uk