Service users from the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have been putting their art skills to work by drawing a portrait of the chief executive Steven Michael, who took time out of his busy schedule to pose for the group.
The artists who took part are all members of the Inspire art group, which is a service user arts project run by the Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to the people of Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.
Steven was approached by service user and passionate artist Bob Barraclough at the annual general meeting in September last year to see if he could draw his portrait. Steven, who also has a passion for art, jumped at the chance and a session in the arts studio at Fieldhead, Wakefield was organised.
The Inspire project launched in 2002 and since then hundreds of service users have benefited from taking part in creative activities and have held regular exhibitions of their work.
Speaking about how art helps him Bob said, "Art really is therapeutic and a great way of expressing your own character. My pictures definitely show my flare for hairdressing and my faith also features in many of my pictures."
Steven’s art skills were clear to see as he drew a portrait of Bob. Other members of the group took the opportunity to draw their own interpretation of the chief executive.
Steven said, "When Bob proposed the idea at the AGM I was really keen to get involved. Not only was this a great opportunity to see how art can be a healing exercise, it was an extra opportuntity to bridge the gap between senior management and service users. I think the picture Bob drew was very flattering and his love of art shone threw during my time spent with him."
Steven added, "Bob and the rest of the Inspire group share my views about how beneficial art is to mental health and wellbeing. It’s great for self esteem and social inclusion and the Trust is delighted to be able to offer creative therapy opportunities to people who use our services."
A permanent exhibition of art work and photography produced by service users and carers is available along the corridors at Fieldhead. Members of the public are welcome to view the artwork. Call 0800 587 2108 to find out more or email firstname.lastname@example.org.