Carmarthenshire Community Mental Health Activities Programme
Arts Care Gofal Celf (ACGC) work closely with a number of local mental health organisations and groups as well as CMHT’s and supported housing projects among others in order to develop our activities programme in response to demand and interests. In the 2012/13 programme we have made links with more organisations including Genesis, Homestart and Action for children as well as health visitors and new OT’s broadening the possible referral source for those accessing the opportunities available. The links between ACGC and other agencies is instrumental in the development and ultimately the success of the activities programme as it enables us to reach service users and react accordingly to meet expectation where appropriate. In the majority of cases, ACGC rely on partner groups and organisation referring/booking service users onto workshops and through these links we also obtain relevant feedback which is essential when evaluating the service provided.
ACGC provide a diverse programmes of activities enabling people to try new artforms through taster workshops as well as develop and build upon skills learnt during previous workshops. The programme meets its aims by providing people with mental health problems with the opportunity to access professionally led art workshops in their area and in a friendly accessible environment.
During the financial year 2012/13 adults who have experienced mental health problems living in Carmarthenshire were given the opportunity to access 65 workshops across three areas (Llanelli, Llangadog and Carmarthen) plus a further 20 sessions (funded primarily through Engage Cymru) as part of an intense project ‘Wired’.
Below is feedback from some of the participants and
staff regarding the Community Mental health programme:
“Please keep me informed of the confirmed dates and any other new projects arising regarding arts and craft. I was pleased with my finished piece, looks great in the light! Just want to say thank you for organising this event and future events i think they are great and a very good way of me time and relaxation. Was sceptical at the beginning but not anymore. You and your team do a great job". [Participant]
“It’s worth making the time to make art. The whole process, what it does internally, relaxing and focussing on drawing or whatever your medium. It’s very healthy, people spend a fortune on various treatments and methods to try and achieve inner peace and balance. The simple act of drawing has all of this :)” [Participant]
“We all really enjoyed the session and everyone was very pleased with the finished pieces” [Staff]
“Great confidence builder, clients thrilled with their results” [Staff]
“They really benefited, one lady who is restricted by being in a wheelchair and restricted use of her left and right hand side, managed to paint a simple holly leaf on her own, with a great deal of concentration and precision, considering she was very low in mood that day, she enjoyed and really achieved” [Staff]
“I learned about glass painting which I now enjoy and will try again” [Participant]
As a result of funding received from Carmarthenshire County Council and Hywel Dda Health Board, 2013/14 will see further activities being organised for Llanelli, Carmarthen and Llangadog starting at some stage during the summer 2013.
Following the success of project ‘Wired’, Arts Care Gofal Celf have been involved in a number of meetings with participants involved in the project which has enabled us to get valuable feedback as well as assess needs for the future. Participants are keen to continue their creativity, one participant stated:
“It was a real inspiration to have Julia Griffiths Jones take us in the "Wired" workshop to make creations out of wire. Many beautiful objects were made, and I personally took to it like a duck to water, not least because of Julia's help and encouragement. The crowning glory of the project was an exhibition of our work at the National Botanic Gardens, Carmarthenshire. The exhibition was very popular and many positive remarks were left in the comments book on site. I would delight in taking part in a project like this again. Thanks to all involved.”
Consequently Arts Care Gofal Celf mean to support participants who have experienced mental health problems in further creative opportunities in partnership with West Wales Action For Mental Health (WWAMH)…this has resulted in textiles project ‘Materialistic’ which will be a textiles project led by Wired Artists Julia Griffiths Jones and supported by 2 other professional artists, Seren Stacey and Alan Williams.
The project hopes to be a 2 phased project. Phase 1 will
consist of a series of 10 weekly sessions starting on 15th May 2013
through to early July, where participants will use a mixture of found
materials, but in collage, felt, print and embroidery gaining skill in
the artforms and being inspired by the techniques and possibilities.
We hope to secure funding for a second phase of the project where participants will engage in a further 10 week course developing skills further and working to create a more sculptural piece of work that can be shared with the wider public in some way either through exhibition, photo or on a website as appropriate.
Felinfoel Children’s Centre, Llanelli
After an initial meeting taking place on 2nd May, Artist Sonia Williams is working on plans for an outdoor mosaic at the Childrens Centre in Llanelli. The centre caters for children of all ages and their families, from babies to toddlers and older siblings as well as mums and dads therefore it is hoped that this piece of work will be a collaborative creation with input from all ages reflecting the supportive environment of the family centre. The art work will welcome visitors as they approach the family centre and be something for all to be proud of.
The Baring Foundation Project, Mynydd Mawr - The project is a partnership between ACGC and Gwalia Care and Support which will focus on working with older people including people with dementia as they undergo the big transition of moving into a new care home facility in Tumble, called ‘Mynydd Mawr’. The project is expected to involve a diverse range of activities, from printmaking, textiles and sculpture to storytelling, drama and movement involving older people at the home as well as schools and community groups.
Artist Rose Thorn began work at Mynydd Mawr in April and will work through to the beginning of June offering 6 weekly sessions with staff and also with residents through ‘moving stories’. The workshops are set as an introductory course offering developmental skills for staff and creative opportunities for residents. Discussions after these sessions have taken place will guide future engagement and hopefully see the project flourish with an exciting timetable of activity.
Pembs SEN transitions team - The group have recently had seen some staffing changes, so we wish Jodie Evans the very best in her new post and welcome Mark Bond who is currently coordinating the groups activities. Young people with a diverse range of special educational needs at a youth club in Portfield will soon get the opportunity to try a range of taster sessions in circus skills, ceramics and animation during June and July.
Carmarthen Leisure Centre - After a successful introduction to non-sport activities at the Bizzy Bees Camp over the summer 2012, ACGC have since been providing activities for 8-12 year olds to enjoy during the half term holiday clubs. We are currently organising animation for the May half term and working on the Bizzy Bees summer 2013 timetable.
Foundry House Community Centre, Pembroke – The centre manager is keen to offer local children and young people the opportunity to engage with professional artists through a range of activities and hopes to secure funding to support the venture. ACGC have organised a drama workshop for children during the upcoming May half term after previous feedback stated:
“Deri was absolutely brilliant, the kids really enjoyed the session ” (Centre Manager)
Arts of Prescription - Having discussed an Arts on Prescription scheme for a number of years, ACGC have been successful in securing funding from Carmarthenshire Wellbeing Activity Grant Scheme in order to pilot the project, yey.
ACGC have approached Doctors surgeries in Carmarthen and hope to organise a series of 12 sessions for people experiencing mild to moderate depression and or anxiety over the coming months. The aim would be to hopefully gather evidence which would then support further developments in the area.
We are currently working in partnership with Carmarthenshire Theatres including Y Ffwrnes (new theatre in Llanelli) to deliver a summer arts festival being held at Y Ffwrnes over three days in August (16th, 17th and 18th). Carmarthenshire Theatres have secured funding from the Arts Council of Wales for the project and we are helping by organising a series of taster sessions and providing workshops across the festival days. The project aims to offer a multicultural experience to children and families across Communities’ First areas in Carmarthenshire and through these taster workshops it is hoped that children and families attend the festival in August. All taster workshops are free of charge however there will be a fee to attend the festival days themselves as they will not only involve workshops with all the professional artists but exciting performances too.
Taster workshops focus on performing arts activities and will involve circus skills, drama, creative writing, Brazilian Arts, African arts/ drumming, parkour, dance, kalari and puppetry. Taster sessions have been arranged to take place over three periods: Easter Holidays, May half term and early during the summer holidays.
The sessions have targeted family centres and holiday clubs in the project areas and we have also organised a series of free open days where children and families can experience a range of activities led by the professional artists on the team. In addition to the above session, artists will also be going into Schools offering sessions to raise awareness of this unique and exciting opportunity.
Deaf Blind Cymru - The organisation has various groups across Wales which support people with duel sensory loss. The charity has booked a summer willow weaving workshops for their group in Bridgend which will all take place later this year.
Llys Caradog – Artist Rebecca Buck has been commissioned to create a name plaque in memory of a very special little girl dear to all at Llys Caradog Children’s Centre in Llanelli. After initial discussions Rebecca has taken ideas and transformed them into a beautiful piece of work which will take pride of place on a handmade wooden throne in the centres new and developing sensory garden. The plaque which includes, flowers, fairies and all things girly including a pink dragon will be delivered and set in place later this summer.
Pembrokeshire Fish Week:
Flags and libraries - On the 31st May, artist Deborah Withey will be facilitating a fish themed flag making workshop at two libraries in Pembrokeshire. Children will participate in the activity creating flags or bunting that will then be displayed at events during Pembrokeshire Fish week for all to see.
Festival of the Sea at Saundersfoot Harbour - Artist Pod Clare will be delivering a drop in sea themed craft workshop at the event on 30th June 2013, 11-3pm for anyone in the area. The workshop targets families and mainly children who are keen to get crafty by the sea.
Oriel Myrddin - ACGC have organised for an artist to deliver a Roman themed workshop at Carmarthen Museum, Abergwili on 20th July for their fun day…details of the activity itself are still to be confirmed.
in Carmarthenshire Life Magazine - Unfortunately Carmarthenshire
Life Magazine published its last edition earlier this year which we are
sure will be a huge loss to all those who supported it. The magazine has
published a number of articles for ACGC over the last few years and have
always been supportive of the work that we do say we would just like to
say “A VERY BIG THANK YOU to Simon Davies and all at Carmarthenshire
Life, it has been great working with you and we hope that the future
brings further opportunities to work together”.
Project Updates: October 2012 - March 2013
Carmarthenshire Community Mental Health Activities Programme:
The service aims to provide the opportunity for adults with mental health problems living in Carmarthenshire to access high quality arts activities in the community. We provide opportunities at three areas across Carmarthenshire: Llanelli (Llanerch Hall); Carmarthen (Outdoor Bowling Club), and also in Llangadog (Community Centre). Each programme enables participants to access workshops on a near weekly basis and according to demand thus providing the option to access as little or as regular provision as appropriate.
The programmes are organised in response to feedback obtained through questionnaires and through discussions with staff working in the mental health sector and participants themselves and hopes to provide something for everyone. All the workshops organised are FREE of charge to participants however all wanting to take part are asked to book a place at the workshops by contacting ACGC to ensure sessions run smoothly. Looking forward to seeing what outcomes 2013 brings.
Carmarthenshire Education and Children’s Service: Heol Goffa School
Project ‘ New Horizons’
Almost a year ago, Alun Evans started work with pupils at Heol Goffa School in Llanelli creating and carving a wooden sculpture at the entrance to the school building. The project was initially planned to be finished culminating in a grand unveiling on 13th July 2012 however due to unforeseen circumstances the project had to be put on hold. The sculpture is now complete and the school are expecting to invite the press to show off their sculpted dragon in the near future.
Engage Cymru Gallery Project ‘WIRED’
The project was a partnership project between Engage Cymru, Oriel Myrddin Gallery and Arts Care Gofal Celf (ACGC) with additional support from West Wales Action for Mental Health (WWAMH). After a series of 10 day sessions which ended in June 2012 partners worked hard to organise an exhibition showcasing some of the fantastic pieces of wire work created by some very talented individuals. The exhibition was held at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales during the months of October and November 2012 beginning with a private viewing and celebratory event on 6th October.
Below are just some images from the exhibition:
The exhibition was a complete success for all involved, the comments
book was bombarded with positive feedback such as:
“Fantastic! Love it all- large, small, delicate, bold- beautiful. Thanks I’m inspired!”
“Fantabulous! Let’s have more of this”
“As I gazed into the ‘mental health’ of some pieces (and their makers) I felt humbled, encouraged and inspired”
“Beautiful, moving and funny…well done”
Staff at the Gardens later stated that “it was the most visited exhibition in the gallery” which was another boost for the participants involved. One piece of work caught the eye of Arts and Creativity Development Officer for Age Cymru, Philip Thomas who later purchased one of the artworks from the exhibition to be used as a trophy at some upcoming awards ceremony. Below is a photo of the artwork which was transformed into a trophy.
Morfa integrated Children’s Centre (ICC), Llanelli
Results of creative ceramic workshops with 2-3 year olds…
Results of family focused mosaic sessions during school holidays…
After a number of creative projects during 2012, Children and families at Morfa ICC got involved with a short series of drawing and printing workshops in January to kick start 2013 with a boost of art and inspiration… All were happy with the results, outcomes of which can be seen by all who pass through the corridors at the centre.
Felinfoel Children’s Centre, Llanelli
Having seen the ceramic hand tiles at Morfa Childrens Centre, the artist was asked to replicate the project with nursery children at Felinfoel. Therefore on 6th February 2013, approximately forty 2-3 year olds had the opportunity to work with Artist Neil Richardson creating imprints in clay which are now complete and adorn their walls…
Next, the centre are due to start on an outdoor mosaic project over the coming months which will coincide with the brighter weather. Dates to be arranged.
Llwynhendy Children Centre, Llanelli
-Approached us to offer a range of sessions with their parents group who meet on Tuesdays in the months leading up to Christmas 2012. Mums had the opportunity to take part in a photography session, soap stone carving sessions, card making and printmaking workshops.
-Young people at the centre also tried their hand at Martial Arts thanks to Artist Lucy May Constantini.
-inspired by recent projects happening at Morfa Childrens Centre, Llwynhendy are keen to follow suit and are pursuing budgets with the aim of recreating the Ceramic tile and mosaic project (as seen in images above) at their centre. These potential projects will engage a range of young people at the centre and providing participants with the opportunity to work with professional artists to brighten the communal areas at their fantastic centre.
Over the past year, ACGC have worked with one of the artists on the register, Joolz, to support his creative self-development. As part of the creative steps programme, Joolz has been given the opportunity to shadow other professional artists enabling him to see different ways of teaching, facilitating, engaging, evaluating etc. The majority of the shadowing sessions have now taken place enabling Joolz to begin the second phase of the programme which will allow him to offer a series of self-led workshops. These workshops will enable anything learnt to be used, developed and consolidated in a practical and creative environment. Participants will work with card and other materials, building and expressing their own imagination using their creativity to communicate their ideas. These sessions are expected to begin in April 2013.
The Baring Foundation Project
The project which will be working in partnerships with Gwalia Care and Support will focus on working with older people including people with dementia as they undergo the big transition of moving into a new care home facility in Tumble, called ‘Mynydd Mawr’. After a number of meetings between partners to develop the project, the core artists’ team has been selected and are excited about embarking on the new venture. The project is expected to involve a diverse range of activities, from printmaking, textiles and sculpture to storytelling, drama and movement involving older people at the home as well as schools and community groups. Due to delays with the building work, the project has not started as planned but after a meeting at the end of January 2013 the home was officially opened and residents are expected to take up home throughout March and beyond. A further meeting at Mynydd Mawr on 14th March will instigate further developments and we hope to see activity start over the next few weeks.
World Mental Health Day (in partnership with WWAMH and the
Carmarthenshire mental Health Forum
ACGC delivered a range of activities from Indian head massage to harp workshops, jewellery, yoga and zumba at the event held at St Peters Civil Hall on 10th October 2012 to celebrate World Mental Health Day. Later correspondence stated “The feedback has been very positive and everyone enjoyed, felt inspired and energised…Please pass on all my thanks to all the tutors, fab as usual”.
Pembs SEN transitions team
Young people with a diverse range of special educational needs at a youth club in Portfield enjoyed some more dance sessions with our very own Laura Jenkins in November 2012 and January 2013.
working with Genesis advisors ACGC organised arts and crafts workshops to run with parents groups at two Integrated Children’s Centres in Llanelli. Both courses which took place during September and October 2012 were extremely well received with feedback as follows:
“The courses have all been excellent! All of the mums have enjoyed. They have all learnt new skills and have all expressed how disappointed they are that it is the final session this Thursday. I have also had a fab time attending the sessions! All of the tutors that we have met have been knowledgeable, patient and very easy to get along with. It has been a pleasure to work with them. Many thanks for making this possible” (Genesis Staff)
After the success of the two initial courses, ACGC were then asked to provide further arts and crafts based courses for parents at two other family centres: Ty Hapus in Carmarthen and Burry Port Family Centre which took place in the run up to Christmas…spreading creativity through a variety of fun and festive workshops.
Ty Bryngwyn Hospice in Llanelli
ACGC Artist Alun Evans led a series of 10 workshops with 2 groups at the hospice during September and October 2012 creating wooden love spoons. Alun loved working on the project as did participants which is evident from feedback: “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, loved seeing Alun and each completed their love spoons which they are very proud of, some are giving it to their loved ones for xmas presents” (staff at Ty Bryngwyn)
St Caradogs Ward, Withybush Hospital
Bongo Clive led a festive music and sing along for staff and patients on 21st December 2012.
Pembs Mind Young Carers
Young carers had the opportunity to take part in a Drama workshop in November which was well received: “The children had a lovely time. Please thank Rose very much” (Young Carers Coordinator). Young carers were also able to get stuck in to some soap and bath salt making during December 2012 with the aim of having fun and making gifts for family members to enjoy. Unfortunately we have recently been in informed that the project will no longer be running due to lack of funding which is a great shame for all young people and staff involved. Hoping that in future the project can be recognised for all that it offers and can resume its work in supporting those in need.
Carmarthen Leisure Centre
After a successful introduction to non-sport activities at the Bizzy Bees Camp over the summer, ACGC were asked to provide further sessions across the October 2012 and February 2013 half terms for young people aged 8-12 to enjoy. Young people had the opportunity to engage with professional artists doing circus skills and animation workshops across each of the half terms.
Artist Sian Boissevain has been in discussions with the school in planning a range of creative workshops to offer the children. Creativity kicked off with 2D collage in February and hopes to develop further over the coming months.
Rhwydwaith is a network of service users, whose aim is to ensure that the voices of service users are heard in the planning, developing and commissioning of services’. At a recent Choices event held at LINKS in Llanelli on 25th February 2013, ACGC provided a glass painting workshop led by Sam Hood, a massage session led by John Cox along with a Yoga workshop through Guy Smith.
Family Fun Days, Llanelli
During the February half term, ACGC supported the Integrated Children’s Centres in Llanelli by organising activities for each of the three centres:
Morfa moved and grooved with music by Bongo Clive
Felinfoel and Llwynhendy got creative with ceramics and pottery with artists Yoka Kilkelly and Neil Richardson.
Newcastle Emlyn School
Young people aged 11 and 12 years old took up the challenge of creating an outdoor graffiti for the schools bike trail called ‘The Dragon Trail’ over one day during the February half term. 15 young people got involved and created a great piece of artwork to be proud of…
Foundry House Community Centre, Pembroke
Centre manager is keen to offer local children and young people the opportunity to engage with professional artists through a range of activities and hopes to secure funding to support the venture. ACGC organised a drama workshop for children across the half term which was well received, feedback stated: “Deri was absolutely brilliant, the kids really enjoyed the session J” (Centre Manager)
Splash Arts Cymru Project, ‘ScrapArt’
Over the February half term, a group of ACGC Artists led a collaborative creative project with young people from Carmarthenshire Youth Offending and Prevention Service. Using scrap materials young people were supported by artists to experiment with a variety of artforms creating, badges, graffiti work, ceramic vessels, jewellery, sculpture, environmental art and a spot of drama among other things which made for an enjoyable and productive week. Staff commented that the “week has gone really well, artists are great and kids have completed some amazing work”.
Mind Cymru AGM
Mental health organisation which supports and promotes good mental health and that challenges mental health stigma requested a musician to perform at Carmarthen Mind to entertain attendees after the formalities of their annual general meeting. George Whitfield will be playing to the crowds on Friday 15th March.
Arts of Prescription
Having discussed an Arts on Prescription scheme for a number of years, ACGC have recently secured funding from Carmarthenshire Wellbeing Activity Grant Scheme in order to pilot such a project. It is recognised that some people experiencing mental health problems can benefit from physical stimulation thus supporting programmes such as ‘The Vitality Scheme’ where GP’s are able to refer individuals to a series of sessions at a local gym in order to improve their mental health. For others, there are schemes such as ‘books on prescription’, however, the gym/ books may not always be an appropriate activity or of interest to everyone. The Arts could be an alternative activity which may support and benefit certain individuals’ health and wellbeing. The idea of being given a prescription to attend arts activities by a GP/ health professional ‘Arts on Prescription’ has been piloted in other areas of the UK and ACGC feel that such a scheme could be a real success in Carmarthenshire benefitting the wellbeing of local people experiencing mental health problems.
ACGC plan to pilot the ‘Arts on Prescription’ Project initially at a single location in Carmarthenshire in order to provide people experiencing mainly low level depression, stress and anxiety with the opportunity to access creative workshops aimed at increasing their sense of wellbeing. Individuals will be referred through their local GP surgeries and or Primary Care Mental health staff to a series of 12 two hour long arts activities facilitated by ACGC’s professional Artists. The project is expected to take place over the coming months and we hope will be a great success providing scope to feed further opportunities in the future.
We are always keen to discuss ideas for new projects with prospective
partners and offer advice as to which arts forms and artists would best
suit your individual requirements.
Should you wish to discuss your ideas for a project with us please click here to get in touch.