From Referrers...
The client was incredibly anxious, but the facilitator' skills and awareness of mental health were exceptional and she was able to complete the course. She has subsequently starting attending community groups on her own. She is more confident when talking to others, and is able to attend groups outside mental health services in the community Open Arts is an invaluable service that meets the needs of many mental health clients. It promotes autonomy and confidence, and will subsequently reduce the likelihood of the client needing secondary mental health services.
My expectations were to provide an approach that takes artistic work seriously- not only as a way of keeping yourself occupied. These expectations were met.
My client's confidence has grown in his capabilities to make change. I've seen him grow through meeting new people and making new friends. He now feels ready to go forward onto volunteering. He was previously set up to start a volunteering role but his anxiety got the better of him. Attending Open Arts has reminded him that he is capable of making changes and moving forward.
My client wants to go out more she has started to wear makeup and look after her appearance more. (She now) attends Valerie Lodge, walking and bowling group, she has also made a new friend which previously she would not have had the confidence to do.
From Course Participants...
I've come a long way since. It's enabled me to include more of the art/craft I used to do and hope to carry on with. A brilliant course!!!
My first day, you know, I remember walking in, you know, I just kind of almost froze, you know, the other side of the door, but (lead artist) just saw me... I can't really speak highly enough of her, because I did find it difficult coming into, you know, a group of people I didn't know. But she's so sensitive, you know, she's really, really sensitive, and without being a big do of it, which you don't want... You just felt held, you know, in a really good arena. So first impression, you know, gosh, this is hairy, and I don't think I ever got to the point that I'm hearing with you, but I don't think there was ever a time when I really wanted to run out of the door, which often I would. In fact once I was here, I didn't really want to go.
I can express myself. Helping me to accept myself more, my abilities and limitations is a slow process but definitely helping me.
It's been useful for expressing emotions/yourself.
It is very pleasant to do art work with like-minded people and be given instruction by the tutors in a friendly and informative way on different methods of doing art work.
I have very much enjoyed being able to express myself through my art work and have enjoyed the company of others on the course. This course has been the first social interaction I have had outside my own family in over a decade.
From Volunteers...
I am about to start volunteering with an Open Arts group, and I am hoping to progress further with my own 'art projects'. Also, there is potentially a volunteering position for a new art group for rethink that I am hoping to help out with.
I find being in the studio extremely therapeutic, much more so than any other form of group or individual therapy I've ever done. Open Arts has been the catalyst to personal creativity. I enjoy the sense of responsibility that goes along with being a studio manager... making sure everyone's alright and happy - that really matters to me
I've become far less angry with the world, much calmer
It was fantastic to see everyone growing in confidence, producing some excellent artwork and making friends
I took great pleasure in assisting people when needed, but also knew when to stand back
The participants have enjoyed the experience so much, and they're really looking forward to spending one day a week at the Open Arts Studio following the end of their course
I feel very privileged to have helped our participants along their artistic journey