Meet Jaq, a mother of two who struggled with anxiety issues before taking up art and crafts as a means of improving her well-being. Jaq first come to us 9 years ago as a volunteer through a joint project with Bath Mind. Since then, she has combined her passion for art with her personal experience using art therapy and professional training in mental health, to facilitate our Life Skills Art Group and taster sessions at our drop-in centre Lifeline.
“When we create art, it allows for lots of emotive issues to come to the surface – the therapeutic value of this is very high. People come to the classes in the mornings in a bad mood, and by the end of the session they are in a different place. I really learn from the people I work with, we learn from each other.”
Jaq has made a truly outstanding contribution to both projects over the past six years; encouraging and inspiring many of our clients who are isolated and experiencing mental health issues to make positive changes in their lives.
“It has been an amazing and life changing experience running the Art Group. Once a week we provide an opportunity for people to have some respite, and it enables them to discover their creative side. The group really gives its participants a safe and supportive space, a place to access resources they wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to, and a place to learn new skills.
One participant perfectly sums up the benefits of the Life Skills Art Group, ““This is the only time I don’t think about my problems”.
For the past three years the artwork produced has been displayed at Fringe Arts Bath, a prestigious and high-profile event which has enabled our Life Skills participants to present their work to a wider audience in their local community, and most importantly, as artists. Recent exhibitions have also been held at the Bath Abbey and Guildhall.
Facilitating the Art Group has not only helped many of our clients, it has had a direct benefit on Jaq’s own self-esteem and ambitions.
“The role has been challenging and so rewarding. I never thought I would have had confidence to run the groups. Life Skills really facilitated me becoming a facilitator, and I now run art groups in other organisations”.
Often, our projects at Genesis Trust serve as a springboard for both clients and volunteers, and it is truly amazing to hear the stories of people who, together, have changed their lives.
For more inspiring stories like these please sign up to our monthly e-newsletter.