The Live Arts Café is a weekly cabaret style, social/creative evening for people who have experience of mental health issues and their friends and families.
During the evening sessions, attendees share a light supper and then enjoy entertainment and creative activities, in which people can participate at different levels. Participants might write a poem to share, sing at an `open mic’ style evening or take part in an art workshop. Each week is unique as different artists and musicians collaborate. The atmosphere is uplifting and the room is dressed to create an ambience. It’s ‘a proper night out’ and a hot house for nurturing creativity. People are supported to share their individual talents; sessions feature a gallery wall, and there are opportunities to volunteer. The Live Arts Cafe inspires individuals to try new things and draws on the benefits of creativity to promote recovery.
The Live Arts Cafe aims to:
- To support a growing creative community, providing creative, therapeutic and social activities in the evening
- To challenge stigma and stereotypes through public events, showcasing individual’s talents and presenting positive images of mental health
- To foster self-care and promote the use of creativity at home as a way of lifting well-being
- To grow social connectedness and peer support
- To build the skills and confidence of individuals, creating and signposting new opportunities to take part in collaborative creative projects as well as training, employment and volunteering.
The Live Arts Cafe has been running for a number of years and as it continues, the focus of the project this year will be to:
- Create Live Arts Cafe champions who will share information about the project within Trust services and to local communities
- Expand the D.I.Y. elements of the project. This will involve artists supporting Live Arts Cafe and Creative Recovery volunteers to broaden their base of creative skills and complete training in creative facilitation.
- Look at new ways to support new people to access the Live Arts Cafe, recognising that it is sometimes difficult for people to integrate into an established group and that often people who come may have been very isolated or have social anxiety. This will include setting up a buddying system and looking at ways of supporting people to travel to the project this includes maintaining links with Kendray Hospital.
- Work from recent participant evaluation to refresh the project in line with people’s ideas and feedback. This may include searching for a new Town Centre home recognising feedback that we have outgrown the Exchange, or if possible, finding solutions to some of the issues around space at the College.