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Creative Wellbeing is a non-profit social enterprise providing free and inclusive creative activities to enhance personal and community wellbeing.

Primarily based in Carlisle, Cumbria, we currently deliver a drop-in session at the Citadel Railway Station every Friday morning 10-12. We offer a comprehensive and diverse range of activities and regular weekly pursuits. We have worked successfully in West Cumbria and will be returning to Allerdale and Copeland later this year and will further develop delivery to other areas in Cumbria, the UK and beyond.

Founded in 2012, we have developed a reputation for high-quality delivery and our diverse demographic. To date, we have delivered over 1400 successful and well attended sessions with people from every background—all are welcome, without judgement or bias. With a focus on social referral, we create city-wide neighbourhoods run by local people that encourage peer-to-peer support and community integration.

Creative Wellbeing brings together creative and healthcare professional networks, with the support and cooperation of local and national people-focussed services, to support individuals through engagement in creativity, in all its diverse forms.

Creative Wellbeing supports the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

These are a set of evidence-based actions which promote wellbeing:

  1. Connect
  2. Be Active
  3. Take Notice
  4. Keep Learning
  5. Give

These activities are simple things individuals can do creatively in their everyday lives.

Ethos

Creative Wellbeing directly serves the community and has built an ethos of cooperation with local, people-focussed, and statutory services many of whom are referrers and promoters of the project and the concept.

We have many people who will attest to the positive impact Creative Wellbeing has had on their life and the people they work with, testifying to improved mental and physical health, greater integration, better relationships, skills development, increased confidence and self-worth, reducing medication, gaining work experience, becoming employed after long periods of unemployment and poor mental health, and reducing reoffending. Our success stories are as diverse as the range of participants we have attracted.

Creative Wellbeing has become an important and well recognised service in Cumbria and beyond and currently receives referrals from DWP, NHS, Community Mental Health Teams, Adult Social Care, Mind, Age UK, Carlisle College, Lakes College, University of Cumbria, Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company, Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service, Turning Point, Outreach Cumbria, Croftlands, SAFA Self Harm Awareness, Impact Housing, Riverside, People First and A4e amongst others. We refer our participants to these services where appropriate, providing a joined-up point within the community to ensure individuals’ needs are met. The project remains dynamic to the needs of its participants and is evolved by local people to provide ongoing opportunities.

Cumbria Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2012-2015 identifies health and wellbeing as being one of the four key challenges facing Cumbria and states that “levels of wellbeing and mental health are closely associated with social inequalities and disadvantage”. Creative Wellbeing addresses this issue by working closely with statutory and third sector organisations and by providing accessible and inclusive projects for community members to engage with. This Needs Assessment for Cumbria also identifies a lack of inclusive local services regarding the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing, Creative Wellbeing has been established to address this gap.

Creative Wellbeing has helped people to integrate (and reintegrate) into the community, building confidence, breaking down stereotypes, fighting stigma, building understanding, tolerance and celebrating diversity.

The constantly evolving local demographic creates an increasing need for inclusive, community-based, activities. At a time when organisations are servicing ever more specific clientele and failing to provide inclusive opportunities to integrate people without bias, prejudice or specific diagnoses, Creative Wellbeing aims to address the need for inclusion.

Who?

Creative Wellbeing was founded by Rebecca Mellor, a local interdisciplinary artist with extensive experience working within educational, healthcare and creative establishments. She is supported by her fellow director, Paul Batey. Both live in—and love— Cumbria and strive to provide a valuable community project which networks and empowers people. We recognise individual skill-sets and personal contribution to the place in which we live. The project is run on sound ethical business principles and practices with the core values of co-operation, innovation and inclusion.

Funding

Whilst we have successfully attracted funding in the past from Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, ESH and others, we currently do not receive core funding. Despite this, our Carlisle sessions continue as part of Rebecca’s artistic socially-engaged creative practice and demonstrate Creative Wellbeing’s ever-growing need, impact and partner support.

However, we are seeking funding for future provision because we are confident and proud of the fact that the project has been very well received, has had myriad positive impacts on participants, partners and other members of the creative community, has inspired smaller projects to emerge and is an essential service to help everyone thrive in the modern world.

If you can help, or know anyone who can, please drop us a line at: [email protected]

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