Arvon and Creative Minds Calderdale to Develop Writing for Change Project | Arvon

Arvon and Creative Minds Calderdale to Develop Writing for Change Project

28 Feb 2024 / News

Arvon and Creative Minds receiving cheque from the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund

Arvon and Creative Minds Charity, hosted by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, are embarking on an exciting project aimed at using creative expression to improve mental health and wellbeing. The project, ‘Writing for Change,’ will see professional authors guiding creative writing sessions tailored for vulnerable individuals. The sessions empower them to boost their creativity, grow confidence, and enact new narratives and aspirations for themselves. 

The project has been backed and awarded £28,294.80 in funding from the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund, financed through recovered cash and assets seized from criminals by the police.  

 

Writing for Change 

Writing for Change is part of Arvon’s wider mission to integrate creativity into mainstream health and wellbeing practices and to empower marginalised communities through creative expression. 

The initiative will deliver weekly creative writing sessions for those who have experienced imprisonment, conviction, substance abuse, and mental health challenges. Recognising the underrepresentation of men in mental health discussions, Arvon is dedicated to shining a light on this group through this project. Men who struggle with their mental health may not typically engage with creative writing as a form of expression, so the project aims to change this by providing this as an alternative outlet to harmful behaviours. 

A participant from Start360, Belfast, who took part in a residential week at an Arvon writing house, shared their transformative experience, stating:  

‘I had used Arvon to get away from abusive people, drugs, and violence. In Arvon, I truly got to thinking about getting better. Arvon really did show me that headspace – and writing it down. As I was writing my thoughts down, it was making them clearer – being able to re-evaluate just happened. A magical experience. 

Writing for Change will work with organisations such as Safe Welcome After Prison, Basement Recovery Project, Youth Justice Service, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), to build trust and offer individuals therapeutic avenues for recovery while leveraging the arts as a catalyst for positive change within the Calderdale region. 

 

Project Impact 

Writing for Change provides a safe space for members of these organisations to: 

  • Build self-understanding, confidence, social skills, and supportive networks to reshape lives. 
  • Discover writing as a therapeutic tool for personal development and self-expression. 
  • Acquire coping strategies and enhance resilience. 
  • Form a supportive creative community, encouraging each other to process their experiences, stay in recovery, and keep from offending/reoffending. 

 

Project Structure 

Through weekly creative sessions led by established writers, who will undergo specialised training in trauma-informed approaches, participants will learn the craft of creative writing. They will then work with a Creative Practitioner from Creative Minds to collaboratively develop a personalised Wellbeing Toolkit, incorporating various creative mediums such as sketchbooks, playlists, and sensory crafts. These sessions will also support their understanding of self-care, resilience, support networks and self-management, which can continue to be used after the project.   

 

“We are delighted to be delivering this pioneering project that brings together our expertise in running high-quality, inclusive, and supportive creative writing sessions with the experience of Creative Minds in mainstreaming creativity in wellbeing practices across Calderdale. The people we will be supporting are often defined by their traumatic backgrounds and issues, so we are excited to give them a window into a world of creativity where they can re-define their identities and see themselves as creative writers with stories to tell and voices to be celebrated.” Sammy Weaver, Deputy Director of Lumb Bank, Arvon  

“We’re really excited to be working with Arvon on this project supporting groups in Calderdale to recognise their creative potential and understand how creativity can support them to maintain good wellbeing. At Creative Minds we’re firm believers that creative activities boost confidence and self-esteem and that taking part in group creative activities promotes social integration and a sense of purpose by creating communities around shared passions.  

The creative wellbeing toolkit sessions will support participants to deepen their understanding of the benefits taking time to engage in creative activities to promote good wellbeing.” Sophie Peel, Creativity and Health Project Coordinator 

 

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