It hurts to feel excluded.  To be accepted and loved by our family, friends and colleagues is central to our wellbeing.  But many of our guests at Genesis Trust deal with the harmful effects of exclusion.  They are often excluded from their families and do not have a safe, supportive network of relationships that we take for granted.  The Genesis Trust staff and volunteers at the Gateway Centre provides a loving community and support network to so many people in our city who having been coping for a long time without it.

Last Thursday, Genesis Trust guests and staff celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee together at St Saviours Church in Larkhall with a barbeque.  But the barbeque was the culmination of a project that has been running over the last three months. A phoenix cut out of four separate pieces of wood has been available for guests at the Gateway Centre to add some colourful tiles.

The project is called “Piece by Piece”.  Guests could lay a row of tiles or just one if that’s all they wished to do.  The idea is that together as a community, they would create a single mural in a relaxed and informal environment. The phoenix mosaic will be displayed at the Gateway Centre.

Sue Fourie, Genesis Life Projects Manager said, “We wanted an activity where no one person felt excluded, but rather included and part of something.  Often, I feel we run activities where guests can unintentionally feel excluded.  They may feel uncomfortable taking part in a group setting or unsure and inadequate to take part in something arty.”

The phoenix is symbolic of renewal and hope.  It reflects people emerging from the challenges faced through the pandemic or any other difficulties in their lives, putting the past behind them and attempting to rise above their circumstances to new beginnings and better futures.  A person’s life which has been damaged by trauma is put back together piece by piece over time.

Sue said, “It was a great success!  People pushed boundaries and tried something different.  They stretched their comfort zone and realised they could do it.  They talked to new people, connected with one another and they helped each other. It was wonderful to observe.”

We want to thank all those involved with making this project possible.  A big thank you to Arts Council England through the Create Jubilee Fund for funding the “Piece by Piece” project.  Also thank you to Larkhall Butchers for providing our barbeque food and St Saviours Church for providing their church for the event.