Art has a major role to play in people’s wellbeing
A GROUP that uses the arts to explore mental health issues has been nominated for a Moorlands Heroes Award.
Leek-based Borderland Voices, which has been helping people across the Staffordshire Moorlands for two decades, has been put forward as Community or Voluntary Group of the year.
Regular weekly sessions in patchwork, creative writing and expressive arts are held at the group’s base in Bank House, Leek.
Co-ordinator Andy Collins, from Flash, leads the group having previously been a trustee.
She has faced her own personal struggle with mental health, as she suffers from bipolar disorder.
“We offer arts for health and mental wellbeing and support many people who may be getting elderly, feel isolated or are having mental health issues,” she said.
“We also try to reach out to people who don’t think they’re ‘arty’ and we are experimenting with evening sessions in therapeutic colouring for people who may be holding down a job but are struggling.”
Over the decades Borderland Voices has been involved in a wide range of community projects, including producing work inspired by the Manifold and Churnet valleys, sculptures, music and creative writing.
Funding from South West Peak Landscape Partnership has enabled forthcoming projects including a performance in Flash this Friday bringing together the words and tales of people living in the area.
Then there is an upcoming festival in Leek celebrating the area’s links with the 14th Century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Borderland Voices are working with artist Sue Prince to create a folk art panel based on the Arthurian legend.
Andy said she welcomes the award nomination as it helps to raise the profile of the group and the work it carries out.
She said: “We’re very pleased to be awarded funding from various groups and individuals. Last month we were given a donation by the former High Sheriff of Staffordshire and will shortly being presented with a donation from the Masons in Hanley.
“However mental health is not a ‘cuddly’ cause. Physical health has generally been higher up the agenda than mental health.”
Andy added that the group is always looking for trustees and would like to establish a friends group to help with fund-raising and awareness.