Arty-Folks is recruiting new Trustees

Arty-Folks is now looking to appoint new Trustees to the Board who will assist us in delivering our strategic plan, and ensure that we continue to be a distinctive and successful charity.   The mission of Arty-Folks is to be a leader in driving social change by tackling the root causes to mental ill health through the transformational power of the visual arts and peer support.

We are looking for highly skilled individuals who think outside the box and will enjoy working with us towards Coventry City of Culture 2021.  We are keen to hear from candidates who can offer particular expertise in one or more of the following areas: finance, IT, HR, mental health and well-being, corporate sponsorship, and fundraising.

We are also specifically looking for a new Chair of the Board and a Treasurer. Candidates will support the Arty-Folks values and have an understanding of governance, and the skills, intellect and outlook to contribute effectively as members of a high caliber board.

Commitment required:
– attend four x 2hr meetings per year including the Annual General Meeting
– occasionally meet with staff or volunteers depending on your skill set and availability
– commit to serving a minimum of three years with the Board

As a Trustee we expect you to:
– be passionate about improving the mental well-being of working age adults
– have an understanding of the challenges small charities like Arty-Folks face
– demonstrate integrity in all your dealings and have good, independent judgement
– be innovative and think outside the box
– have an honest and open approach and take decisions for the good of Arty Folks
– have in-depth understanding and acceptance of the legal duties of Trustees.
– have a good sense of humour

Please note that Trustees are volunteers and receive no payment except for agreed out-of-pocket expenses.

To apply, please email your CV with a brief covering letter describing your specific skills to the Chair of Arty-Folks using email: info@arty-folks.co.uk.

 

 

World Mental Health Day 2018 focus on Young People

World Mental Health Day 10th October 2018
puts the spotlight on Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.

Members’ acrylic paintings map out places and people that are important in their lives. With this exhibition we want to raise awareness that feeling part of a community is the best ‘medicine’ to maintaining good mental health.

A survey released this October 2018 by BBC Radio 4 found that 16-24 year olds are the loneliest age group in the UK.  Young people have to face a world where human rights are violated wherever they look including cyber crimes, cyber bullying, and violent video games.  Additionally, young people face a huge range of pressures from achieving in education, fitting in socially, conforming to gender roles, portraying a certain image online, as well as dealing with family breakdowns.

Youth loneliness is not taken seriously by society and so it can feel like a personal failing.  By putting children and young people’s feelings down as ‘typically teen moodiness’ we silence and disempower them and we are putting their mental well-being at risk.

Most young people will come through challenging life events without serious harm.  However, the NHS reports 24.3% of people registered with mental health services are aged under 19, and that the number of girls and boys self-harming is increasing at an alarming rate.  In the UK suicide is the leading cause of death in young people and over half of those who die by suicide have a history of self-harm.

Framing young people’s experience of loneliness in medical terms such as depression or anxiety is not useful and will only reinforce the sense of shame and stigma many of them feel.   Instead of keeping their feelings bottled up, we need to encourage young people to talk about how they feel, help them understand loneliness as a normal experience and legitimate feelings for them to express.

What does it take to grow up healthy, happy and resilient?

Human beings are by nature very sociable and we need to take time to listen and exchange experiences, have fun, and connect to our peers.  The BBC survey shows that 61% of young people say that taking part in group activities is the best solution to tackle loneliness because sharing an interest is the simplest way to make new friends.

Arty-Folks received £75,000 from the Heart of England Community Foundation
to run a 3 year programme for young people 18-28 year old who are struggling to find their own way forward.  Weekly “Making Headway” group offers art for self-development combined with 1:1 life skills coaching, and inter-generational mentoring.  The project is in its second year and it has helped our young people to push through their fears and start Foundation in Art and Design at University, college courses towards and employment.

Feedback from a young service user: “Arty-Folks is a safe place for me where I made my first friends after 4years of being in Coventry, where I feel comfortable being myself. The group has helped me become mentally stronger and I am now back at Uni.

Arty-Folks “Making Headway” group provides young people with opportunities to meet with other like-minded people and and promotes a sense of belonging to a community.
To join Arty-Folks therapeutic art programme:  every Wednesday 12.30-2.30 at Holyhead Studios (formerly known as Artspace), 16 Lower Holyhead Road, CV1 3AU.

Lloyds Bank Foundation supporting Arty-Folks for second time!

Lloyds Bank Foundation recognises that small charities can make a vital difference and have granted Arty-Folks £14,982 to improve digital capabilities so we can reach more people struggling with mental ill health in Coventry.

The report “The Value of Small” commissioned by Lloyds Bank Foundation shows that small to medium sized charities are making a huge difference to individuals and communities with their work on tackling social issues such as mental ill health.  It finds that small charities such as Arty-Folks have a distinctive impact locally because we act as the glue that holds services and communities together and we are able to reach the most marginalised in society.  However, 84% of local government funding is going to larger charities with more than half of funding going to a small number of very large charities.

Lorella Medici who has led Arty-Folks’ work in the city for the past 23 years comments: “More people than ever before slip through the net because they don’t score highly enough to qualify for mental health support even though they are clearly in need.  Many also become more ill while they are waiting to see specialist services which can take up to a year even if people are in crisis. But small charities like Arty-Folks can be accessed anytime and people can also self-refer without formalities and waiting lists. 

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Pictured: At the Arty Folks group in Coventry is art leader Lorella Medici in the art studio.
Pictures by Adam Fradgley

We may be small, but our programme of therapeutic art groups combined with 1:1 mentoring and coaching helps people regain their self-belief to move on in life.  Through therapeutic learning and with the support of peers our members achieve a robust level of mental stability.

This is the second time Lloyds Bank Foundation has funded our development ambitions and we are extremely grateful.  It is boosting our determination to become more visible in Coventry so we can support more people to stay safe, better manage their mental health, and make positive choices.”

Feedback from a current member: “It is difficult to admit that you have fallen out of line with what society expects and others may not be able to understand how ill it is possible to become.  Arty-Folks is a really good anchor where I can relate to people who have been in the same boat and where I am not judged as weak. I feel probably for the first time at home, safe and a part of the community, with friends to call on, and with interests and hobbies that make me feel my life is worth living.”

Arty-Folks runs a therapeutic art group every Wednesday 12.30-2.30 at Holyhead Studios, 16 Lower Holyhead Road, CV1 3AU.  For more information visit www.arty-folks.co.uk or facebook/ArtyFolks

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Pictured: At the Arty Folks group in Coventry is art leader Lorella Medici in the art studio.
Pictures by Adam Fradgley

Heritage Open Days, September 15/16 2018

Saturday 15 September: 11am – 5pm
Sunday 16 September: 12noon – 4.30pm
at Holyhead Studios (formerly known as Artspace), 16 Lower Holyhead Road, Coventry CV1 3AU

What’s On
Arty-Folks members are exhibiting fantasy film creations in the community room
Artist studios will be open and artists will be present to talk about their work.
Children’s activities – colouring, collage, heritage trails.
A range of community groups will be exhibiting artwork.
Exhibition of plans and photographs documenting the history of the building.

The building historically served as a Quaker Friend’s meeting house, Police social club, youth centre and one-time rehearsal space for the Specials, Selector and other 2-tone bands. Since the early 1990s the building has been an arts facility offering artists’ studios, community space hire, workshops, events and specialist ceramic facilities. The building retains a wealth of original features and artefacts which illustrate its varied history and uses.

Heritage tours available of the building to include the artist studios, basement used by the Specials and Selector for rehearsals, classroom gallery, and members office and community room (former friends meeting room). Tours will take place on the half hour throughout opening times. No need to pre-book but tours are limited to 8 people per tour. Meet in the main entrance hall. Visitors can wait in the community room till the tour starts.

To download the Heritage week-end brochure
http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/127/events/3128/heritage_open_days_2018/1

Willow workshop at Positive Images Festival 2018

Originally ‘Basket Case’ referred to WWI soldiers who had lost arms and legs and had to be carried in baskets by others. A ‘Basket Case’ is someone who is regarded as ‘useless’ and it became a derogatory term for people with mental illness that is sadly still often used today.
 
Nobody is useless.
 
Arty-Folks challenges such stereotypes and misconceptions and we are working towards a world where people are able to have everyday conversations about mental wellbeing within families and across the wider community.
 
The workshop is free and our artists will show you how to use willow and make a spiralling hanging basket for your garden. We hope it will then continue reminding you to relax and clear your mind in times of stress.

Arty-Folks exhibits at Positive Images Festival 2018

Main floor – We are so proud and excited to exhibit for the first time “Inner Child” sculptures created by our Making Way group.  These sculptures are in two parts; ‘parent and child’ and took the best part of 4 months to complete. This was a particularly beautiful project where we explored being kinder to ourselves and to stand up to those negative voices in our minds.

Main floor – by popular demand we are exhibiting ‘Spiralling’ again, a magical installation created collaboratively by members of Arty-Folks’ young adults group.

1st floor – Paintings by members of all four groups that Arty-Folks runs weekly. These landscapes are inspired by Aboriginal paintings and map out personal places of importance and that help us grounding.

Positive Images Festival is in its 24th year and runs Saturday 16th June – 7th July.
You can pick up a copy of the programme at Coventry Central Library

 

 

Spiralling Willow Workshop Saturday 19th May 2018

Saturday 19th of May           Free Workshop 11am-1pm
Central Library main floor.  Learn to make a willow spiral basket

Originally ‘Basket Case’ referred to WWI soldiers who had lost arms and legs and had to be carried in baskets by others.   Later, and until the 1960’s, ‘Basket Case’ referred to the mentally ill at Insane Asylums who wove baskets as part of their ‘therapy’ and to do something ‘useful’.  To suffer a mental illness is still seen as a mark of disgrace today even though many recover fully, or learn to manage their condition especially if they get help early on.

15 Minutes is how long it will take you to make a small spiral willow basket
on Saturday 19th of May 11am-1pm.

Join us and together let’s challenge the stigma that still surrounds mental illness today.
Work with Arty-Folks towards a world where people are able to have everyday conversations about mental well-being within families and across the wider community.

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Spiralling for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

We are delighted to invite you to ‘Spiralling’ an exhibition and installation of artwork created by members of Arty-Folks for Mental Health Awareness Week 14-20 May 2018 at Coventry Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY, open Mon-Fri 9am-7pm and Sat 9am-4.30pm.
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The Mental Health Foundation chose Stress as the theme for 2018 and describes it as feeling under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life and it often has a cumulative effect, with each stressor building on top of one another.

Everyone experiences stress to some degree and it can sometimes be positive and help you perform better in certain situations. But it’s only beneficial if it is short-lived!  If stress is affecting your life seek support to tackle the issues fuelling it and at the same time find your own ways to de-stress.

Go for a walk, try meditation, yoga or tai-chi, or join Arty-Folks any Wednesday throughout the year 12.30-2.30 at Holyhead Studios (formerly known as Artspace), 16 Lower Holyhead Road, Coventry CV1 3AU, in Coventry City Centre just off Spon Street.

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We would like to hear your creative ways to manage stress using the hashtag #mycreativecalm across FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.
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AJ Gallagher Gives Award £5,000 to Arty-Folks

Arty-Folks was nominated for this award by an AJG employee who benefited from our creative self-development program. During our sessions, she realised that self-expression in a community of peers helped improve her well-being and that such therapeutic opportunities are not available to those in work. Currently Arty-Folks workshops run in the daytime so are not accessible to the majority of people who are in employment.
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AJ Gallagher is a global insurance broker with more than 4,500 employees specialising in risk management and insurance solutions for corporate, commercial and personal customers. Gallagher Gives is part of their global Corporate Social Responsibility program and provides opportunities for their employees to get involved in local projects.

People in work are not immune to stress: over a 9 month period Coventry City Council reported 14,000 work days lost through stress, depression and anxiety. With 1 in 6 employees currently experiencing mental health problems, mental health is an essential business concern. There is a strong relationship between levels of staff well-being and motivation and performance and by taking a positive approach to mental health, like
AJ Gallagher, businesses can help their staff grow.

Statutory services focus on people who have become so unwell that they are not able to function in society anymore and we recognise the opportunities to address mental stress at early stages are limited. We all have mental health and we will all experience periods of good and poor mental health, just as we do physical health.

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With this award Arty-Folks will be able to pilot a new service that will equip people in employment who are struggling with stress or who care for a loved one or friend with mental health needs with creative techniques to recalibrate mental energies.

We are very grateful to AJG employees at the Coventry branch for allowing us to test our ideas on them during Mental Health Awareness Week May 2018 and for supporting us with a wide range of tasks that will strengthen our charity.

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R.H. “Feeling at home again”

I first came to Arty-Folks after a prolonged period of turmoil experienced while living in the north of England. During this time I lost my career, home and contact with most of my friends and family. Eventually after spending a Christmas and New Year’s Eve living in a section of concrete drain pipe on a Blackpool car park I made my way to Coventry, my home town, more by accident than choice.

Not long after moving here I was sectioned under the mental health act, spending a month in a psychiatric ward. To be forced into such a confined, tense and controlled environment was traumatic, particularly as I did not believe I was mentally ill but just going through a rough period. After being discharged I was introduced to Arty-Folks and soon found the atmosphere to be really welcoming.  Unfortunately, the neighbours where I was living were very antisocial and threatening, and I then went through another bout of mental illness that even I could recognise as real and serious. Once again I found myself in the psychiatric hospital this time for three months. While I was in there (voluntarily this time) Arty-Folks staff visited me and made my 60th birthday which fell on a Friday 13th and a full moon!  I hadn’t celebrated my birthday in many many years and reading the card with best wishes from my friends at Arty-Folks I felt that there were people out there who genuinely cared about me.

When I left hospital Arty-Folks staff helped me move to my new home and I started to attend the art sessions again.  I found returning to the group very helpful. Members from all sorts of backgrounds suffer with a variety of conditions and have developed so many differing coping strategies which are shared when chatting while doing the artwork. No one is judgemental and no matter how mild or severe or your condition it can be discussed with the group without embarrassment or fear of ridicule.  Often someone would say something about their history, thoughts and feelings, that can give real insight into your own as seen through different eyes. The art projects that Arty-Folks artists set allow your emotions to be projected onto a variety of media and enable you to examine what, within your own mind and soul, forms, the patterns and colours of your work. I found the session at the end of each project where the group take it in turn to interpret each others work really interesting; hearing what others feel your work represents can be very informative. This, like the chat around the table, often gives insight to your own feelings and deeper thoughts that you, perhaps, had not been able to see yourself before. We also went on some very interesting trips to other art venues which also helped widen our immersion in art and our ability to interpret its meanings.

For me Arty-Folks was not about becoming a great artist, any level of ability can participate, It was about mending or improving myself through art.  I believe Arty-Folks approach to therapeutic art has taught me how to look into my own self and understand more of the emotions and character traits that shape my behaviour, so to better know how to bring out the best in myself. It was also great to work with a group of mutually supportive people, peers and staff, who genuinely care about each other. After four years I have reached the next stage of my recovery and will be leaving Arty-Folks but will miss it greatly.   I feel probably for the first time at home, safe and a part of the community, with friends to call on, and with interests and hobbies that make me feel my life is worth living.  I would recommend Arty-Folks to anyone who is looking for support to turn their lives around.