Friday, 2 October 2015

Arts on Prescription - The Final Post

Hello AOP-ers,
It is with deep regret that we won’t be running any more courses, please read the Press Release below about the reasons why. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that we have worked with over the years that have helped make this such a worthwhile project and a big thank you to all of you that have attended courses.
The Arts on Prescription Team.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Arts on Prescription
A lack of funding has resulted in the closure of the Arts on Prescription project in Pendle, Burnley and the Ribble Valley which is managed and operated by Pendle Leisure Trust.
Due to changes made by Lancashire County Council and the end of Target Wellbeing funding, Pendle Leisure Trust’s Arts Development Team can no longer provide the project and has expressed great concern over the vulnerable people that will be affected by this.
Pendle Leisure Trust’s Arts Development Manager, Kirsty Rose Parker, said: “Target Wellbeing came to an end in May and this has left us with a £30,000 annual deficit, therefore we have had to make the difficult decision to cease providing this popular and successful programme. In the last few years we have worked with around 250 individuals each year and it is hard to think of what will happen to them in the future.
“If we were able to get other funding, then we would be able to continue.”
Arts on Prescription provided art courses free of charge to adults suffering from depression, anxiety, isolation and low self-esteem. Courses include crafts, drawing, painting, creative writing, cookery, cake baking and textiles.
People were not asked their reasons for attending, but were encouraged to set themselves goals to achieve during the courses, which led to them meeting new friends, gaining confidence and learning new skills.
Comments from some of the people who have attended the courses include: “It gave me a chance to learn new things, meet people and most of all gave me hope for the future”; “It took me away from troublesome thinking and gave me a purpose in life”; “Being part of a group, where we were all on the same level was great” and “I have gone back to work full time thanks to the confidence I regained attending the course”.
Running across Pendle, Burnley, and the Ribble Valley, the project has worked with individuals who signed themselves up for the courses and health agencies wanting to refer people – from a referral database of over 300 health and support workers.
Kirsty added: “Since the project started in 2007, we have worked with over 1,200 people and 114 of those have returned to employment, which is a fantastic achievement. In the eight years, 1020 people have learnt new skills, 480 people went on to study or joined a group to continue being creative and learning and 72% of the people continue to make art at home.”
One referral partner who frequently refers her cancer patients to the project, Dr Ailyn Garley, Clinical Psychologist with Cancer Services at Burnley General Hospital, said: “Some cancer survivors need to work on managing their mood and anxiety and rebuild their quality of life after their cancer experience. For some cancer survivors groups such as Arts on Prescription are vital for making new links in the community. Arts on Prescription can help to give structure, meaning and enjoyable experiences that are a break from the difficulties of everyday life and separate from any medical or health concerns.”
Another referral partner, Rik Entwistle, a Support, Time and Recovery Worker from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Focusing on artistic activities takes our minds away from negativity, it benefits our well-being and allows friendships to develop naturally.
“I was disappointed to hear that Arts on Prescription is without funding. Introducing people who are isolated, vulnerable and lonely to the project was one of the first things I suggested our clients try when helping them help themselves. I think the project needs to find funding ASAP as its importance as a resource is paramount in moving people towards independent and happier lives.”
Phil Storey, Chief Executive of Pendle Leisure Trust added: “This innovative project was unique in the area when it first started and has transformed the lives of a lot of people who have attended the classes. It will be such a shame for it to finish, but we simply do not have the funding for it to carry on.
“Unfortunately I do not think this will be the last scheme we see suffer from a lack of funding, as the continuous cuts on grants start to bite. I fear that not only projects like this are under threat, but also facilities as well. It will be a very sad day if a leisure facility is closed in the future.
“The benefits that leisure facilities, events and projects have on people’s lives, both from a health and well-being value, should not be underestimated.”

Thursday, 2 July 2015

10 ways to be more resilient in life

Resilience is important for a healthy and happy life. It's a way of bouncing back from the bad days or trying times or whatever kind of stuff life throws at us.

I went to a workshop recently with Liggy Webb on resilience and one of the other people attended it described it as Invisible Armour.

Liggy works for the United Nations and advises people all over the world who have suffered trauma on how to be more resilient and she has written books too. She had also had open heart surgery six weeks before the event and yet she was there with her hair blow dried, in heels. Inspirational!

She shared 10 guiding principles to resilience and I'd like to share them here today.

  • Take a journey of self discovery
Actually start to think about who you are, your strengths and weaknesses. Know what you are good at and embrace more of that, work on your bad tendencies (or avoid them). This is useful in many ways, at work - you may choose to avoid tidying like I do and let another member of staff do that, but to take on more public speaking in exchange. Play to your strengths.

You could apply this at home too. If you are great at organising but not so keen on cooking, try and divvy up the tasks.

Also, sometimes we can be surprised by what we are good at. Why not ask someone? A friend, a colleague, a family member. It can be scary to do this, but to embrace all of life sometimes you need to take a risk.
  • See the glass half full
You have probably heard this a million times, but positive thinking does make a huge difference to your life.

If you wake up thinking today is going to be awful, you're tired and stressed and hate things, then it probably will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Try saying 'today will be a great day' to yourself every morning. Or as many mornings as you can.
  • Take emotional control
Imagine we have two wolves inside of us, always fighting. One is full of negative emotions and hatred, one is strong and healthy and full of good. Only one can win.

Which one? The one you feed.
  • Change for the better
Change can be difficult especially if it includes grief or loss but it is a natural process, which everyone deals with differently and at different times.

The standard cycle is: Denial - Anger - Depression - Bargaining (or What If) - Acceptance which came out in a book called 'On Death and Dying' by Elizabeth Kubler- Ross.

Everyone tends to move through these stages but not at the same time and sometimes people go back and forward. Be kind to yourself and others if they are experiencing this.
  • Cope well with conflict
Try and avoid being combative but differing opinions and thoughts can lead to growth. Try and remember this.
  • Embrace Opportunities
There usually is a silver lining, try saying yes more. Be brave.

  • Look after yourself
When on an aeroplane you have to put your own mask on first before helping others. This is true of many things - you can't be the best you for others without looking after you first.
  • Make positive connections
Try hard to avoid isolation as this can be a key factor in being resilient. Loneliness is a huge issue for mental health. Join a scheme like Arts on Prescription, volunteer in places, just try to get out of the house at some point.
  • Keep going
Winston Churchill has a great quote "If you're going through hell, keep going"
  • Create a vision
Finally we all need hope. Having something to work towards no matter how simple is really good for the spirit.

One thing that kept coming through with all of these is how helpful being grateful can be to your wellbeing. Try thinking of three things today you are grateful for. It might be as simple as the sun is shining, you had a great sandwich or as big as a happy marriage or plenty of job satisfaction. The more you can find to be grateful for, the better.

Studies have shown that being grateful every day for 30 days can make you 25% happier.

That's worth a try isn't it?

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Exploring Shakespeare's words...

Hello again! Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been looking to the words of Shakespeare for our inspiration, sharing writing and exploring diary writing.
It’s amazing how just a word or two can spark off an idea. Take ‘rouse’, ‘fortunes’ and ‘bitterness’ for example. What tale could you build around these words? Perhaps, it could be one of an aloof eighteenth century young widow, writhing in BITTERNESS due to rejection from her late husband’s family whose FORTUNES are changed, when a mysterious traveller with sapphire-blue eyes, comes into her life and ROUSES passions she thought went to the grave with her husband!
This is one idea that we’ve been playing with in our sessions. Some used the words within their writing, some used a word as the title and others simply used the words to set the tone of their work. The results were fascinating! Look out for future blogs with some examples.
We’d like to share some of the writing from the group. Linda wrote a warm and humorous poem, a couple of weeks ago, using the prompt title The Visitor:
‘The Visitor’

 A call from far away
Was something we didn’t plan for.
She said she was coming to stay,
With Dennis, James and then some more.
Neighbours’ recruited; spare beds to get;
Twenty-three ended up at dinner.
Cousins, Uncles and strangers were met;
No time to don my best pinner!
Grandma wanted a room of her own,
A dresser as well, if you please.
She got on and also a throne,
While five-in-a-bed we would squeeze.
One of the men slept in his truck;
Another made a bed in the bath!
When I think, it’s a wonder he didn’t get stuck.
To this day, it still makes me laugh.
Uncle James was sleeping in the next street.
He set off but didn’t get far.
Someone carried out a no-mean-feat:
Throwing a lamppost at his car.
How to feed all the folks that came..
The eating was really problematic
Shops all were closed. What a shame.
Dividing one loaf into ten didn’t come automatic!
Oh what to do? Where to turn to? Who to blame?
 Mum found two tins of meat in the cupboard,
Along with carrots and spuds.
She poked around and felt like Mother Hubbard
Pastry made..results: thin pies in floods.
They came with lots of instruments to play:
Accordion for Walter; penny whistle for John
Dennis was a master on spoons
I never expected the fun we had that day,
Belting out all sorts of tunes.
Janet on piano; Oh, she was good;
Cousin Tommy singing along;
Us kids all clapping and when we could,
Joining in when we knew the song.
But I managed to get near my gran a little
We had a real good chat
She gave me a necklace; it was old and brittle.
Then we talked about this and that.

Come back soon for our next post, where we’ll tell you more of what we’ve been up to and share another fabulous piece of work!
Bye for now.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

We're back with new courses starting your place now!


New courses for Spring/Summer 2015

Back by popular demand, Creative Journaling, Textiles,
Mixed Media Crafts, Painting, Fused Glass and more…

Arts on Prescription is friendly and welcoming and provides art courses for people who are finding life a little tough: people who are lonely, stressed or not feeling very confident about themselves and also those suffering from anxiety or depression.

All our courses are free, suitable for complete beginners and are now also open to people that haven't been on a course in the last 12 months. If you need any help choosing a course just call, text or email us.You can come and try a lesson once and if you like it, come back and do the whole course. You don’t need to have done any arts & crafts in the past as all our courses are suitable for beginners.

One of the best parts of Arts on Prescription is getting to try new things, new techniques and learning how to be more creative.

Get in touch - to book a place or for more information Call: 01282 661784 Text: 07815 962190

Twitter @artsonprescript

Mixed Media Crafts

Tina Foran
Venue: Sion Baptist Church, Church Street, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 2DW
Times: Tuesdays, 1pm – 3:30pm
Start Date: 19th May 2015

This course is designed to let you try a bit of everything and explores a variety of techniques and approaches to working with different materials. During this course you will discover the art of printing, painting, collage and design. You will produce finished pieces of artwork on canvas, paper and card alongside making and developing your own sketchbooks. This course is perfect for anyone wanting to learn new things and explore their creativity.

This course is suitable for complete beginners

Textiles - 'For the love of Yarn'

Tutor: Kath Heywood
Venue: Burnley Tennis Club, 30 Lower Ridge Close, Burnley, BB10 4BW
Times: Thursdays, 10:00am – 1:00pm
Start Date: 4th June 2015

This course will show you how to knit and crochet. You will explore the beginner basics, casting on and casting off, how to knit, purl and crochet. From these basics you can learn to follow instructions in an easy pattern or design your own accessory such as a phone case, headband or scarf with support from the tutor.

This course is suitable for complete beginners

Painting for Beginners

Tutor: Keith Parkinson
Venue: The ACE Centre. Cross Street, Nelson, BB9 7NH
Times: Wednesdays, 10:00am – 1:00pm
Start Date: 3rd June 2015

This course explores acrylic painting techniques. We will look at ways to use line, tone, colour and form and have the opportunity to develop and investigate a range of techniques, tools and materials. You will be guided through a range of approaches to painting a variety of subjects, in a relaxed and friendly setting. Perfect for anyone that wants to give painting a try!

This course is suitable for complete beginners

Creative Journaling

Tutor: Beverley Chapelhow
Venue: The Shop, The Old Post Office, The Victory Centre, BB9 9UP Nelson, Lancashire
Times: Wednesdays 10:00am – 12:30pm
Start Date: 20th May 2015

Keeping a journal is a good way to reflect of your experiences, ideas and thoughts. A journal allows you complete creative freedom and can be kept in many ways. This course uses a mix of creative writing and art techniques; you can combine images, collages, printing and drawing to make your own personal and visually pleasing book. The options are endless.

This course is suitable for complete beginners and you don’t need have done any arts or crafts in the past to join.


Cakes, Bake, Decorate

Tutor: Jayne Theaker
Venue: Grassroots Centre at St Phillips Church, Leeds Road, Nelson, Lancashire BB9 9XB
Times: Mondays, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Start Date: 01st June 2015

If you fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood and want to learn how to perfect your baking skills and avoid those soggy bottoms? Then this is the course for you. You will learn the essential skills involved in baking yummy treats. Learn how to perfect your piping and icing skills and decorate your baked goods with the help of a cookery tutor. What’s more, you get to take them home to enjoy.

Please note we don’t ask for donations on this course as you will be required to bring the main ingredients of the dish each week and we will provide the basic store cupboard ingredients.


Tutor: Keith Parkinson
Venue: The ACE Centre. Cross Street, Nelson, BB9 7NH
Times: Wednesdays, 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Start Date: 3rd June 2015

During this course you will explore drawing techniques using a range of materials as well as use unfamiliar tools such as barbecue skewers, to explore the endless fun ways to draw. You will learn how to draw landscapes, portraits and still life and together look at different styles of art whilst building your confidence through drawing.

This course is suitable for complete beginners, but we do recommend you have an interest in drawing.

Fused Glass

This course will be running in two locations this term, please let us know which course you will be attending when booking your place.

Tutor: Karen Redmayne
Venue: Sion Baptist Church, Church Street, Burnley, BB11 2DW
Times: Wednesdays, 10:00am – 1:00pm
Start Date: 20th May 2015

Venue: The ACE Centre, Cross Street, Nelson BB9 7NH
Times: Thursdays, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Start Date: 4th June 2015

You will learn how to design, cut and make fused glass key rings, coasters and plates. Learn various glass techniques such as painting on glass and produce high quality work. Your pieces will be fired after each session and returned. This course is suitable for complete beginners but book fast, our glass courses are incredibly popular and fill up quickly. Maybe we are all a bit like magpies and just like shiny things

Here's what some of our past participants have to say about their time on
Arts on Prescription...

'I have enjoyed making things, I have made new friends, and it has made life better and give me more confidence'

Arts on Prescription participant

'I really enjoyed the course with great tutors in a friendly relaxed atmosphere'
Arts on Prescription participant

To book a place or for more information Call: 01282 661784 Text: 07815 962190

Twitter @artsonprescript

Thursday, 16 April 2015

What's Creative Writing all about?

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing guest blog posts from our Creative Writing tutor Claire Benson. Claire will show you different ways you can 'work with words' - you don't have to be a professional to enjoy writing and the benefits of writing can be life changing for some people.

Meet Claire...

‘Would you like to discover reading for pleasure and fun, chat about interesting characters and story-lines, experiment with your creative side and tell your story? Come along to our 'Working with Words' sessions, where we will read together (stories, magazines and poems), discuss, write from prompts and discover how you can express yourself and your ideas in words in a relaxed and informal setting.’

Hello and welcome to the first ever ‘Creative Writing – Working with Words’ blog.

My name’s Claire and I’m the tutor on the programme. At the moment I’m working with a lovely group of people at Pendleside Hospice. The group members all have something in common: they have lost someone very dear to them in their lives. They come to our sessions to meet others, share stories and use creative writing as an outlet for their grief. Sometimes they don’t write about grief at all. There are funny stories, poems and even comic accounts of the rediscovery of King Richard III. A lot of the writing is autobiographical too. We go wherever the mood takes us.

We are now on week six of eleven sessions and each member has settled in nicely. It’s a supportive environment, full of warmth and trust and I feel privileged to be helping the group to flourish in their creativity.

Today, we’ve been looking at using photographs as prompts for writing, looking at the faces of unknown people and asking ‘Who is this?’ and ‘What is their story?’ From here, the group are creating short narratives or poems around their new-found characters.

Look out for further updates and contact Carmela about coming along on the next course!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Guest Blog Post, Meet Kath...

As you know we have been sharing stories about the experiences of our past Arts on Prescription students recently. We have a treat for you this week with a guest blog post from one of our former students and volunteer - Kath Rimmer, in her own words she tells us how she found AOP and the impact it has had on her life... A truly inspiring read!


A couple of years ago my daughter picked up a leaflet for Arts on Prescription in our local post office. We are both avid crafters and spent ages poring over the courses that were on offer – to be honest, we fancied them all. At the time I was feeling pretty low emotionally for all sorts of reasons, and wondered if I could cope being in a room full of strangers trying to learn something new, but in the end I decided to just give it a go – after all I could leave if it was too much for me.

We both chose different courses, my daughter did  print making and I chose a general craft course where we would be having a taste of all sorts of things at the ACE centre in Nelson.

Looking back now, I can see that taking part in this course changed the direction my life was taking. I had left a job through stress and was finding it hard to envisage my future, it was a pretty bleak time and the courage it took to make the decision to go to that class was immense, but I am so glad I did it, and oh how my life has changed since that day!

The tutor on the course made us all feel comfortable, she was happy and enthusiastic and so eager to share with us the skills and knowledge she had. We did all sorts of weird and wonderful things, felt making, printing, paper making – we even ironed plastic bags – all in the name of art! But – it was the people who attended the course who made it what it was. We were all there to get out of the house, to learn something new, and to meet people. We gradually began to talk to each other and make friends, we all had so much in common – we were there because we needed to get away from the pressures of life, even if it was for just a few hours a week. Those few hours would help to sustain us until the next week which couldn’t come round soon enough – we would talk together, laugh at some of the weird and wonderful things we produced and soon came to realise that we were not isolated in our feelings and emotions, we could share with people who understood.
I came to realise just how therapeutic I found the creative process and when the course came to an end a group of us who wanted to continue to meet started to attend a similar group independent of the AOP.

I began to realise that I wanted to use all these wonderful experiences to create a better future for myself doing something I have always loved and so in 2013 I signed up to do a degree in Contemporary Textiles and the University Centre at Blackburn College – something I had always wanted to do but never had the time or the confidence for before – I thought I would be older than most people there, but I wasn’t, I thought I had been out of formal education for too long, but I had a wealth of life experiences to bring with me, and it has changed my life!

As part of the degree we had to undertake ‘Work Based Learning’ in an area we wanted to work in. Straight away I contacted Kirsty Rose at AOP to see if there was anything she could offer me – and after one of the nicest interviews I have ever had, signed up as a volunteer on a Journaling course they were running at Pendleside Hospice in Burnley with people who had been bereaved.

I will not lie, I was nervous. The tutor Beverly was great, setting everyone at ease as we embarked on a series of sessions that gave everyone the creative tools they would need to create beautiful meaningful artistic journals. It was an incredibly moving class, wonderful to observe a group of people, again with a great deal in common, as they began to get to know each other and relax in each other’s company, seeing friendships form, and how everyone had great respect for each other’s feelings and emotions. I felt very privileged to be allowed to be a part of that.
My duties as a volunteer mainly involved carrying equipment in and out of the building, washing paint pots and brushes and offering my own bits of knowledge and expertise where I could, and of course taking part in the classes and learning and meeting new people.

It’s not often in life these days that opportunities like the Arts on Prescription classes come along, education has become more and more expensive, most courses come with an exam at the end, and nothing lasts forever. To be able to take part in a course taught by a professional who is passionate about their field, to have no pressure or worries for those few hours every week, to gain a new skill or reignite a love of something you haven’t done for years, to meet genuinely lovely people who can empathise with you – to have that human contact, well its worth more than its weight in gold as my grandmother used to say.