Go See Do – PSS Wellbeing Centres and the Bluecoat

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Using a grant from the HOP Pot, PSS developed a project for older people who attend their Wellbeing Centres. The participants are managing or recovering from mental health problems which have a significant impact on their day to day lives.

Through the project, the group made visits to Lady Lever Art Gallery, the Walker, Tate Liverpool and the Bluecoat, looking at a wide variety of art. In between each visit, members of the group went to the Bluecoat’s workshop space to create their own work, supported by artists from Kaleidoscope Collective.

The findings from evaluation of the project suggest that it has made a real difference to the participants in a number of ways. Firstly, getting out and about to different venues has boosted the group’s confidence in trying new things and being more independent. The group enjoyed the experience of seeing new things and got a lot out of the visits, even if they didn’t always like the exhibitions.

‘They’re fantastic and we only scratched the surface. I would be willing to go to any art gallery now’

‘I found it very peaceful to walk around and be able to have lunch or coffee and be able to converse without loud music that we find in other venues’

The workshops were a warm and friendly place where participants could experiment with creating their own art, and they tried a variety of techniques over the course of the project, including clay, oils, watercolour, acrylics, collage, pastels and sketching. The group found this challenging, but very worthwhile.

‘I had anxieties about it and had to push myself forward because I wanted to do it’

‘We were cosseted in a nice way. We had to do our own thinking but if you looked up someone was there to catch your eye and say ‘Are you ok?’ because that was a problem when we first sat in that room and we thought Oh my God, there are people here who know how to paint, what am I going to do?’

‘It’s realising you can do the things you’re shown, then once you start getting confidence you’re fine’

‘I did things out of my comfort zone and loved it!’

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‘The reward for me was being out and about with other people’

The group are now looking at future opportunities to work with Kaleidoscope and to share the techniques they have learned with others

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