People who use mental health and learning disability services provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in Wakefield have started work on a project to create a unique sculptural mosaic.
The project involves service users who experience acute and enduring mental health problems, or have a learning disability, and are residents at the Newhaven Unit or Bretton Centre on the Fieldhead site.
This ambitious project will reflect the aspirations and unique perspectives of the individuals participating and will culminate in a specially designed sculpture for the Fieldhead site; a large mental health and learning disability facility on Ouchthorpe Lane.
Throughout the project the Trust is working alongside award winning mosaic artist/sculptor Amanda Wray supported by AiM (Artists in Mind) and the project has also received funding from the Arts Council.
AiM is a charity using the arts to support individuals experiencing acute and enduring mental ill health. It has ten years’ experience supporting the linguistic and artistic development of people suffering acute mental distress in secure settings. Service users are currently taking part in weekly sessions which involve making large wooden profiles of their faces which they are decorating with mosaics and other materials to express something about themselves.
These skills will then be used to help create the final piece which will be developed in a series of workshops with the sculptor Amanda, who will then take the parts away to construct the final sculpture.
The sculpture will provide a legacy for future service users, staff and the public to enjoy.
Arts and music practitioner Paul Dews, who works at Newhaven, said, "This is a fantastic opportunity for service users on our secure units to learn new skills and get involved in an exciting project. This will be the first site-specific sculptural artwork at Fieldhead and will be positioned in a prominent and accessible outdoor space for all visitors to the site to enjoy."
The collaboration is part of the Trust’s Creative Minds strategy, which underlines the organisation’s commitment to having a creative approach to service delivery as well as promoting opportunities for people to get involved in creative activities.
One service user who is part of the group said, "I have been involved with this project from the beginning and am learning new art and team skills all the time. I feel I am contributing to something that will be therapeutic for others and I have very much enjoyed the socialising with other members of the group as well."
Creative approaches have been proven to achieve high quality outcomes for people who use health services. They have been shown to not only increase self-esteem and provide a sense of purpose but also help develop social skills and improve an individual’s quality of life.
More information about the Trust’s Creative Minds strategy can be found at www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/creativeminds