Chairs Welcome and Annual Report 2018/19

Chair’s Welcome

Welcome to another Annual Report and a proud year for Arty-Folks. 
It is a great pleasure and privilege to introduce the Arty-Folks Annual Report 2018/19.

We have achieved a great deal this year to strengthen the support we offer to individuals but we are deeply aware that there is still so much more to do!  The strain on people’s mental health and well-being is continuing to rise and it is estimated that 1 in 6 people struggle with mental ill health.  In Coventry alone around 67,000 people between 16-74 years old have a diagnosed common mental health disorder.  Sadly, most are assessed as below the threshold to receive specialist mental health support.

Mental ill health is very isolating and continues to be stigmatised despite great efforts by national campaigns.  Additionally, our service users have struggled with significant health needs for many years and with substantial gaps in CV are unable to enter the labour market.  From them we learn how social and economic inactivity impacts on their self-esteem, their physical health and mental well-being, as well as their hope for recovery and a better future.

How much the burden of mental illness weighs on the NHS and the economy is frequently pointed out.  But what concerns us most at Arty-Folks is the human costs to the individual, their family and friends, and our wider community.

This galvanises us to think outside the box and to continue enhancing our creative self-development programme in a co-productive way with our service users.  I would like to express my gratitude to our trustees, our staff and peer volunteers who go the extra mile to help our service users achieve their full potential.  What motivates us all is seeing lasting friendships develop where they help each other battle through past hurts and current unhelpful beliefs, and encourage each other to leave safety nets behind and live their lives walking confidently in their own shoes.

We are immensely proud that this year 79 service users were able to start living their lives without support again; 27 service users were fully discharged from mental health services and 52 progressed into education, employment, volunteering and community activities.

I would like to warmly thank everyone who is working with us to make this happen, from service users who become peer volunteers, our amazing staff, our supporters and advisors, my colleagues on the Board of Trustees as well as our funders who believe in us and are behind us every step of the way.

John Gough, Chair