Start Creative Wellbeing is an evidence-based service that offers structured and goal focused creative wellbeing activities including ceramics, mosaics, painting & drawing, photography, textiles, and mixed media.
Through specially constructed interventions that embed wellbeing awareness into creative activities, the team help people to notice, improve and maintain mental wellbeing, develop coping strategies and self-management skills, and feel greater empowerment in their lives.
Reviews are held regularly, in which users will review progress and set goals. The validated outcome measure sWEMWBS (shortened Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale) is in use in Creative Wellbeing.
'In the Painting Studio'
Photo by C. Fortune
The Start team works alongside an Occupational Therapist, who support people using services, and offers specific interventions to help people overcome challenges and barriers to engagement.
Most people who join Start have little prior experience of art except through school, but find that their talents are drawn out by the supportive learning environment. It is well worth noting that everyone is born with creative abilities, and although we sometimes lose touch with those skills as we come into contact with the stresses and strains of life, we all have the capacity to nurture and grow our creativity. Creativity is known to actively support mentally healthy outlooks.
'In the Ceramics Studio'
Photo by C. Fortune
Start helps people to regain confidence and rebuild skills to move on to wider opportunities in education, training, employment or the community. Goals are discussed from the outset, and people who receive a service meet regularly with their individual art tutors to review needs, aspirations and goals.
Length of time in service varies from person to person. Groups are small and tutoring is supportive. Everyone learns at his or her own pace. Sessions encourage the development of practical artistic skills. An outward facing attitude is encouraged at all times, so opportunities are sought to work with partners in the community on a regular basis, and to engage with the public via mental health promotion events and exhibitions.
'In the Photography Studio'
Photo by C. Fortune
Start has won both regional and international awards for its service. In August 2008 the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement chose Start as one of 10 best practice examples of innovative work across the NHS in their '10 reasons to be proud' publication. You can read more about Start's service users and the exhibitions they have taken part in by visiting www.startmc.org.uk.
Start recently launched Start2, an exciting new free online recovery resource that uses creative activities to boost health and wellbeing. To read more, go to the Start2 tab on this website or visit www.starat2.co.uk.
Services are open weekdays. Specific activity timetables vary.
The Area Teams, the Early Intervention Service, the Review Team and Community Rehab can all refer into Creative Wellbeing .
'Tell it Tile'
Photo by T. Forster
Artwork by Bette Scruton
What people using Start say
"I didn't have goals and aims before being at Creative Wellbeing, now I feel I've got a lot going for me. I'm much more motivated; I have a different outlook."
"Some of the practical activities, such as learning how to make mind maps, were very useful. I like to think that I'll use that again in my everyday life. I like that Creative Wellbeing is like being at college, with lots of learning and doing new things in each of the studios. I liked mixing with others too, that was a confidence boost."
"Creative Wellbeing taught me to take small steps, slowly, slowly, towards my goal."
"Art practice… has become such an important part of my life, both helping me to heal & find a voice"
"At Creative Wellbeing…I experienced kindness & genuine care & support, with plenty of gentle encouragement. I found some of the hope I had lost"
Artwork by Lucy Catherine
Telephone: 0161 882 2431/3
Start (Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust)
Cornbrook Enterprise Centre
70 Quenby Street
The centre is open Mon-Fri 9-5, and group hours vary according to each studio.