By Gillian Twaite, Learning and Engagement Manager
Looking forward to the Bedlam Showcase at the Midland’s Arts Centre (MAC) this week!
The event on Tuesday 16th May is the culmination of a citywide collaboration between Primary and Secondary Care teams and Arts Organisations to create a range of health and well-being workshops for service users. The Showcase will bring together a broad spectrum of people including some of the participants from Sampad’s hubs and there will be a curated tour of the Art Exhibition with some of their creative work on show.
One of the unexpected but really important outcomes of our initial sessions was that the Mental Health staff got to experience a weaving workshop with Nilupa Yasmin. They loved it and it highlighted the importance of staff well being. Following this, the mental health staff participated in every session, sitting alongside the service users and ourselves (I also joined in). It created an equity of communication which isn’t able to exist within the formal support sessions in clinic.
Different types of conversations have started to take place and everyone in the group has spoken about how the creative and practical tasks have positively impacted on how they felt that day or week. A lady from one of our hubs said how she had been having a really bad week and that she nearly didn’t come but that she was glad she had as it had brought her ‘out of herself’. A male participant has said that he had got to the point where he only left the house for medical appointments but that coming each week had got him into the habit of doing things again. He comes each week and whearas initially he was hesitant if it was something which felt outside of his comfort zone , he now says ‘ I don’t care what it is, I’ll be there if I can be.’ There is a lot of laughter in our sessions and lately the home made cookies and cups of te/coffee from the community café have become almost as important as the Artist and their creativity. Funnily enough even the artist who is coming for a second session commented that she was looking forward to the cookies as last time she was fasting for Ramadan and everyone raved about them!
My own reflections for this week : we all have a much better chance of thriving when we meet others in a positive environment where everyone is valued; we share food and drink and creative activity. This is where our brains can be nurtured by trying new things which we feel we have both achieved and enjoyed. That it is as important for staff as it is for service users to have a couple of hours without the pressures they are dealing with for the rest of the week.
Cup of tea, creativity and a cookie anyone?