For the moment we can’t physically come together at Designs in Mind but it is more important than ever that we remain creative and stay connected at this time.
Our priority has been to current studio members, adults who have been referred through mental health services and who have become part of the working studio at Designs in Mind. There are over 100 of us and together we are determined to find ways to live life.
“I feel like I’m not alone. Talking to people in the group means we are all together”
We have made creative kits and people from the team have either picked them up from the studio or they have been delivered across the north of the county. These include felting, embroidery and sketchbooks
People are sharing photographs of their work and we are making sure that is shared across our team via email, a private Facebook group and posting newsletters for people who are not online.
Our studio lead, Bridie, has started recording weekly workshops from our studio to inspire and connect people to the studio- this week was Oil Transfer Drawing
Every day we share a sketchbook challenge on our social media accounts
“My brain goes to another place when I am creative and this is needed”
Each week we are setting a creative theme for people in the team to contribute designs which will be available to download from our JOLT website soon. Posters and cards, to be printed at home or shared digitally with distant friends and family, to spread a little joy and Designs in Mind love. Please visit www.thisisjolt.co.uk
Before the studio doors were temporarily closed we had finished creating all the designs for our new retail collection- this is now all being made digital, so that we have an amazing new collection ready to launch in September
“It’s inspiring and reassuring to see how people are using creativity to give meaning and purpose to their lives, even when we are apart”
This is most important. 90% of the time our studio is full of laughter. At this time in the world, anxiety is high. It is so easy to get lost in the world of information, to spiral down, and to hide away. We have been determined to find ways to support people to laugh and smile every day. Some may say it is just silliness- but this is what has made the difference, and we have seen that it is vital at this time. SILLINESS is vital.
Our private online Facebook Group is full of creative work, playful videos of song and dance and stories of surprise and peace. There are two rules- be positive and keep it real. We don’t share links from anywhere else around the web- we keep it human.
We have a weekly online fancy dress party, which has become a priority for some- planning their outfits 3 weeks in advance! Fancy Dress has always been a theme in our studio and it is great to be able to continue this online.
“The creative posts have been far more than drawings, they have been expressive and interactive and fun. Just what I’ve needed to keep me coping.”
Just over a year ago we developed a listen and connect team at Designs in Mind. Our Listen and Connect lead, Stuart, has created a blog to support members with their mental health through this time. The aim is to avoid being overwhelmed, so members can use the blog to gather relevant information and be kept aware of what mental health support is currently available to them.
We have started Coffee Morning #SpoonRooms. These have been developed by Camerados- a movement of people from around the world who believe the answer to our problems is each other. These are a chance to talk, a chance to listen and hopefully a way to make video calls more sociable and less awkward! We hope it still has the camerados spirit: a place to be together, permission to be rubbish, no fixing, where we can look out for each other and get through tough times….just online instead. You can join the Camerados Worldwide Spoon Room every Saturday here- https://www.camerados.org/
We are calling and texting people weekly to let them know that we – and the studio will all be waiting for them on the other side.
“I am useless with technology, but it has been so important I have learnt and made myself do it.”
Even at a distance, we can still be with our friends, we can still laugh and be silly together, and we can encourage each other and find shared purpose through creative challenges.
We want to do more and we know so many more people need our support at this time. We will start sharing more resources and connecting with other people and organisations to help where we can. Like everyone at this time, we are muddling through and doing what we can. If you have ideas please get in touch.
Our next priority is ensuring that Designs in Mind is still here and able to thrive when all this comes to an end. We have been very supported by Social Enterprise UK and we have had unbelievable support from all of the funders, who have been in communication with us regularly and continued to find ways to support our work. This includes Shropshire CCG, Shropshire Council, The National Lottery Community Fund, the Henry Smith Charity and the Mary Hignett Bequest Fund. We have also been extremely grateful for additional emergency funds from the Steve Morgan Foundation and Oswestry Town Council- both of whom have acted fast to listen to our needs and get essential funds to us.
People have also been donating using our Local Giving Page which you can find here- https://localgiving.org/charity/designsinmind/
And you can still shop! We are uploading new products every week and if you want to share some love with family and friends we have some perfect ideas- https://www.thisisjolt.co.uk/
Whilst these are difficult times, we are finding a way through and the creativity, purpose, silliness, friendship and the help of wifi are making all the difference.
‘Designs in Mind is still a space where I can be myself and challenge myself to take on new things.’