Creative group launches to '˜build bridges'

A new community service launches next week to help combat isolation and improve mental health.

Heartspace, an inspiring new community service for adults, is brainchild of Katrina Wakefield
Heartspace, an inspiring new community service for adults, is brainchild of Katrina Wakefield

Creative activities will be used to build bridges in the community, supported by Coastal West Sussex Mind.

Katrina Wakefield is launching Heartspace at Bracklesham Barn, Beech Avenue, Brackelsham Bay, at 1.30pm on Wednesday. The two-hour session will then take place every third Wednesday of the month.

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She said she was inspired to bring people together to connect with each other and explore creative outlets.

“I also experienced the lack of local support available to both patients and their families, when a family member suffered a period of mental illness,” she explained.

“There was just nothing locally for any of us. Sometimes, even just being able to do something like adult colouring can help a person having a difficult time.

“I wanted to create a supportive space where creative activities could be a safe way of expressing thoughts, feelings and emotions.”

Katrina said Heartspace is for all adults, to promote self-expression and good mental health.

“Self expression is a fundamental requirement for positive mental health,” she explained.

“But not everyone can articulate how they feel, or everything they feel. Creative activities help us find ways of expression.”

The programme for the year includes intuitive painting, singing, expressive movement, bunting-making, beach cleaning and walking.

Katrina added: “Heartspace is also about reaching out and making friends - building bridges between ourselves and others in the community.

“If people are lonely, they can become very shut down and even less expressive. It’s important to have human contact and stimulation.

“It’s also helpful and healthy for the brain to learn new things. Research has shown that learning such activities as crafts, knitting and sewing can help during the early stages of dementia.”

The whole process has been a journey of chance meetings, fortuitous connections with key people and a huge amount of generosity and goodwill.

A large donation from a benefactor helped fund the start-up costs and people have come forward to donate their time and expertise to run sessions.

Katrina added: “I attended a local event by Coastal West Sussex Mind, the mental health charity, and discovered they were intending to run a support service on the same days as Heartspace. We decided to join forces and there will be several people from the charity available at each session.”

Heartspace will run as a pilot project for a year, evolving as it goes. Participants will be have a voice in shaping its future.

Contact Katrina on 07857 345084 or email [email protected] for more information or to donate arts and crafts materials.

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