"It’s been a lifeline to be honest, it’s helped me get back to being myself and away from the person I was … I’m slowly, but surely, coming out of my shell - getting a bit of confidence in myself and just starting to enjoy life again.” Service User, ESCAPE Family Support.
For the last four years, bait has worked with ESCAPE Family Support on a number of arts projects. A county-wide drug and alcohol misuse charity, ESCAPE Family Support helps local communities by supporting service users, carers and their family members.
Arts projects, including; Towards Community Programming and the Common Ground exhibition at Woodhorn Museum and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has seen real and positive impact on those who took part.
Some of the benefits people described included feeling a sense of achievement from learning new skills and trying new things, increased confidence, being more motivated and up for new challenges.
We chatted to some of the groups, in confidence, about their experience with the arts:
"At one time I’d just isolate myself in the house, I wouldn’t come out. I’d have my blinds closed, I wouldn’t answer my door and I would just get deeper and deeper into depression…now it’s great I look forward to getting up in the morning, going out and coming to my groups, it’s great.”
"There is something about art, it uses the other side of your brain and you just don’t think about your problems…I really look forward to coming and when I go I feel really good.”
"From never been ‘arty’ at school or at any point in my life, I was reluctant to get involved in the art project with bait and ESCAPE. After being involved in choosing the artist, I decided to give it a go! As the weeks went by, I realised art wasn’t just about drawing and realised I did have an imagination and produced some pieces that I found therapeutic, gaining confidence after each session. I felt so privileged to be able to go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival - it was "shamazing” to be part of it and my confidence at trying new things keeps growing!”
The development of the skills and enthusiasm of ESCAPE Family Support staff and users led them to apply, and successfully secure arts funding from the Arts Council, to enable them to continue to offer art to new clients.
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This project was commissioned by Woodhorn Charitable Trust through the bait programme.
bait is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery.
bait works in partnership to support more people in South East Northumberland to create and take part in inspiring and high quality arts experiences. All projects aim to build a stronger future for the people who live here.