Engaging people with mental health issues in creative arts is a proven way of promoting self-confidence and self-esteem, and can even lead to a route back into work and wider society. Zoofish Arts has been offering a nurturing and creative environment in Poole, Dorset, since 2014. It gives people a space to discover new ways to express themselves and develop new skills. We loved hearing from Rachel about how they’ve put the funding they received from the Co-operative Bank’s Customer Donation Fund to good use.
“We’re a small community interest company that delivers sessions called Zap Arts, specifically for people with mental health issues. Participants come here to chill out and forget their problems through playing with different materials, and in turn learning and creating their own art. Our sessions include lots of different activities, such as Etagami painting using Japanese brushes and watercolours, sculpture in soapstone or by constructing in wire and plaster and even printmaking. We also offer ceramics, where participants make their own ceramics creations which are then taken away, fired, and returned.
Participants have had their work exhibited professionally at public art exhibitions and we’ve had artwork from a member of our group selected nationally by Outside In, a charity that works to create a fairer and more inclusive art world.
We have evidence that besides just being fun and relaxing, the art sessions are making a difference in more profound ways. Many of our clients tell us how as their confidence in the art they produce increases, this spills over into their daily lives and has a positive effect on their relationships. Like many community based groups, securing funding is a continual challenge so we were really grateful for the support we received through the Co-operative Bank’s Customer Donation Fund.
The money we’ve received will keep our sessions going for the near future, giving us time to apply for grants that will keep us open for the longer term. We are able to continue to provide a welcoming, safe place where people can experiment with their creativity, get together as a group and relax with a cup of coffee and a paintbrush! Thank you Co-operative Bank, we are very grateful.”