A Durham charity is looking to tackle social isolation with an innovative arts project thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest social landlords.
Gilesgate based charity RT Projects has been awarded £5,000 by believe housing for its ‘Arts for Health’ project, which will help dozens of local people tackle depression and improve their mental health.
The 10-year-old charity has a track record of delivering projects that improve mental health and, thanks to believe housing, can now provide a weekly meeting point for isolated local people.
The regular sessions are will cover activities like printmaking, sculpture, woodcarving, creative writing and textiles. However the remit goes beyond this, with the aim of the programme designed to encourage interaction, participation, social contact and boost confidence. They will be led by specially trained mental health facilitators with all materials provided.
believe housing Community Investment Officer Amy Glendinning said: “The link between art and improving mental health might not be immediately obvious to many, but RT Projects has a history of using creativity to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people.
“This funding will provide new opportunities in Gilesgate to tackle isolation, reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem and enhance wellbeing. Friendship and support from these sessions will have a lasting impact on the lives of dozens of people.”
Beano from RT Projects said: “Anxiety or depression can make life an uphill struggle. Each day can become something to try and get through rather than something to be enjoyed.
“The causes of poor mental health can be deep rooted and complex. However, with the right support, recovery is possible and indeed those affected can become stronger through their journey.
“This funding will enable us to reach out to some of our most vulnerable local people. The impact will be life changing and in some cases lifesaving.”
Gilesgate is one of six communities across the county that have been given priority status by believe housing. Each of the areas will receive funding for projects that will improve opportunities for residents and extra support for those looking to start or improve their careers. Horden Crossroads, Deneside in Seaham, West Auckland, Willington and Woodhouse Close in Bishop Auckland are the other priority areas during 2017/18.