Arts helping to support well-being and raise funds for Action Mental Health

Some of the beautiful figurines handcrafted by the skill participants of the Crafty Covid sculptors

Clients at AMH Foyle have taken artistic action against the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic, to help support their own well-being while raising vital funds for the charity.

AMH Foyle clients, dubbed ‘Experts by experience,’ are showcasing their creative talents across a diverse range of mediums with the end products being sold in the local community and proceeds benefiting the charity.

When the lockdown shut New Horizons’ nine services across Northern Ireland on March 23, staff got creative to fill the gap and to continue to provide avenues to maintain well-being and mental health among clients.

Staff set about devising a ‘Stay at Home with Foyle’ activity pack that provided instructions and materials for clients to engage in arts projects. The move reflected recent research that showed participating in artistic activities helped reduce anxieties associated with Covid 19, decreasing feelings of isolation, and helping people feel connected.

Some 120 clients were involved in seven unique projects, allowing them to utilise their talents and flair in the Covid Seeders, sunflower and wild flower growing project, the Covid Muse creative writing initiative, the Lock What You See photography, the Crafty Covid sculptors scheme, the Big Covid Bake-Off course, the Covid Dudes sock sewing project, as well as the Unravel Covid knitting collective.

The knitters have created Derry/ Londonderry’s first ever 8ft knitted Christmas tree, comprising a knitted square for every client who has attended New Horizons Foyle over the last 28 years. The unusual tree will be displayed in a central city location, to be a symbol of positive mental health and emotional well-being, with donations by the public welcome.

Each project encouraged participating clients to cultivate their hobbies and skills to produce collections and showcases of a variety, some of which will be on sale soon.

The programmes delivered at AMH New Horizons service are part of the “Working it Out” project, which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020, the Department for the Economy and the five NI Health & Social Care Trusts.

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