A COMMUNITY arts project in Bradford is today celebrating after being awarded almost £200,000 in Lottery funding which will enable it to start a new scheme aimed at improving mental well-being.
Hive, based in Shipley, has received a total of £198,172 to offer support for people experiencing mental health issues, encouraging them to volunteer and to take part in creative group activities.
The five year grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme will help to reach at least 150 participants and 120 volunteers across the district.
The Thrive project will enable Hive to use its learning from involvement with Ecominds, a Mind project was also funded through the Big Lottery Fund. Ecominds involved an ecotherapy project with people looking after their mental health by doing gardening, farming, food growing, exercise, art and craft, or environmental conservation work.
Thrive will now provide a pathway for personal and social development for dozens of the most vulnerable people by delivering creative activities including one-to-one support and mentoring for those suffering from poor mental health.
There will be regular group activities throughout the year including patchwork quilting, printing using natural resources, paper and bookmaking using recycling materials. Those who take part will be encouraged to focus on displaying and exhibiting their work at the end of the ten weeks to show friends and family. An annual event will bring all groups together to share their skills and they will be encouraged to become volunteer mentors to support new participants. They will also be supported in accessing Hive's core programme which includes a drop-in service, courses and volunteering opportunities.
Joy Hart, community arts manager for Hive said: “The most recent figures from Bradford JSNA Mental Health needs assessment 2011 estimated 43,000 people in Bradford were affected by depression or anxiety.
"The Mental Health Minimum Dataset also showed that in the Bradford district 10,440 people claimed an incapacity benefit relating to mental health 3.5% of the working age population compared to 1.7% nationally.
"In 2012/13 we have had 37 mental health support organisations contact us whose clients would wish to access Hive’s creative programme as a way of improving their wellbeing, confidence and skills. This is why the five year funding for the Thrive project is so important."
Tim Davies-Pugh, Big Lottery Fund deputy director for England, said: “It’s good to see Hive remain active and continue their hard work to improve the mental health of vulnerable people in Bradford. Our Reaching Communities funding is for projects that help people and communities most in need."
Hive is a registered charity and has worked for 30 years to promote and deliver creative activities to provide personal and social development for the wide range of communities living in Bradford. This has included large projects, commissioned community activities, courses and drop in facilities.