Arts charity battling ‘mental health crisis’ expands to Southwark

Staff Reporter (16 March, 2021)

Arts Network recently gained a £125,300 grant from the City of London Corporation City Bridge Trust

43027A painting done by a participant in an Arts Network group, a charity that helps people with mental health issues in SE London

An arts charity combatting a “mental ill health crisis” triggered by the Covid-19 lockdown has expanded into Southwark from its base in neighbouring Lewisham with a new £125,000 grant, writes Kit Heren…

Arts Network, which provides arts and crafts groups for people with severe mental health conditions, has moved online since the onset of the pandemic last year.

The charity has also launched a magazine called Stay Connected, with a growing readership of 1,200.

And with a new £125,300 grant over three years from its backer the City of London Corporation Bridge Trust, people with mental health problems in Southwark and Lambeth are now set to benefit from Art Network’s services.

“We’re already seeing increased demand for our services and we fear a mental ill health crisis will follow from the Covid pandemic,” said the charity’s founder Mo Saunders. “This funding will allow us to reach even more of the people who are most in need of our services.”

“When people are with us they are not labelled as someone with a mental illness – they’re just artists. It gives them a sense of self-respect, they learn new creative skills and start to build up social connections in a really supportive environment.”

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation City Bridge Trust, said he was impressed by the lengths many charities have gone to in order to adapt during the pandemic.

“Arts Network is a perfect example,” he added. “By moving workshops online and launching a really successful magazine, they’ve been able to ensure people with mental health issues can stay connected and enjoy the therapeutic and cathartic benefits of exploring their creativity.”



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