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Art at Work

Everyone has potential to be creative

Organisers of an art group in Norwich believe that everyone has the potential to be creative . . .  and say they haven't been proved wrong yet!

ArtatWork designs visual arts projects aimed at promoting good mental health and community wellbeing. 

Holly Sandiford, who set up the group with Melanie Tilford three years ago, said: “We create fun and relaxing art sessions for a wide range of sectors, including private business, charities, community groups, councils and festivals.”

The sessions are designed to meet the needs of the participants and include arts and walking, costume making, heritage, painting, printing, environmental arts, puppetry and sculpture. 

Holly added: “Both myself and Melanie have degrees in arts and wellbeing and 35 years of combined experience of using the arts with different groups, including those with learning difficulties and with mental health and drug and alcohol issues, with dementia, employees and with young people.”

They can design and deliver projects from start to finish and have up-to-date training and insurance. 

Melanie said: “We also offer training in using the arts and to promote wellbeing and can deliver Discover and Explore Arts Awards to young people under the age of 25.”

ArtatWork runs a drop-in arts, nature and wellbeing group open to any woman over 18 at The Vauxhall Community Centre in Norwich on Tuesdays from 10am-1pm. It costs £3 a session and includes refreshments.

Holly talked about how they started the group: “We had worked in the sector for a while and we felt ready and able to go it alone and to work in a way which was in line with our values.”

She said they measured wellbeing using the Warwick and Edinburgh scale and had found that taking part in the groups significantly increased the wellbeing of participants.

That has been backed up with some of the feedback from those taking part.

Comments have included: “It is very important for me to come to the group. I feel so much better when I'm there. My low mood and 'monkey chatterings' in my head stop, which is such a relief, even a temporary breathing space is wonderful.”

“Coming to the group is my saviour, my safe place, knowing that if I am having a bad day, no-one judges... If I had not met you all, I would have thought art was a lot of splashes on canvas looking a mess. Talking and going to art exhibitions has opened my eyes, made me more aware of my surroundings and being with others who have similar problems to me makes me try to forget my own.”

See more at www.artatwork.co.uk and you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram @ArtatWorkNorwich.