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Service users get creative with Hope the Hare
​​People facing mental health challenges have been expressing their creativity as part of the GoGoCreate element of the GoGoHares art trail taking place across Norwich this summer.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) service users and staff on the Rollesby, Waveney, Glaven and Thurne Wards at Hellesdon Hospital have been busy decorating ‘Hope the Hare’. This is one of the 160 leveret or baby hare sculptures being painted by a variety of organisations, schools and clubs across the county.

The GoGoCreate completed sculptures will go on display at locations around Norwich from 2 July to 2 September in an art trail being run by the children’s charity Break and Wild in Art. There will also be a large art trail of 50 hares representing the 50 years since Break was established and a further 18 around the county.

Art Psychotherapist Jake Whitbread and Senior Occupational Therapist Debs Agar, who work in NSFT’s Central Norfolk Acute Services, have been working with service users on the project.

Service users chose the name and helped to come up with the design, and have been expressing their creativity and supporting one another while decorating the sculpture.​

Jake said the whole experience had been very positive for everyone involved as they explored the power of hope in recovery, especially in the area of mental health.

He added: “It was designed as a jigsaw puzzle to symbolise how life does not always fit together and can, at times, require a lot of work to get each piece of the puzzle of our lives to fit, while realising some pieces don't fit together and that is okay and we can develop coping strategies to work round some of the difficult situations that life places us in. 

“The project is also a practical example of how, when we work together showing mutual respect and understanding of one another’s experiences, positive development and change can be achieved through having hope within ourselves and in others.

“The creation of Hope the Hare highlights the beauty that can come from working as a team and by providing hope and encouragement that things in life are in their nature imperfect but through positive development can be accomplished to a level of satisfaction.” 

Hope the Hare will soon be completed and taken away to storage until it is unveiled along with the other sculptures at the start of the trail. The large hare trail runs from 24 June to 8 September.

​When the trail has finished, Hope the Hare will be returning to Hellesdon Hospital where service users, visitors and staff can continue to enjoy the artwork and the message of hope that it represents.

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