Meet Designs in Mind

We are more than just a studio – we are a community where people living with a shared experience of mental health challenges can meet and form friendships, support networks, and peer support connections.

Everyone at Designs in Mind has an understanding of mental health – we are a place where people can talk without judgment and ‘feel rubbish’ without needing permission.

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About Designs in Mind

Designs in Mind is a creative and inclusive social enterprise based in Oswestry, Shropshire. We believe that design has the power to affect how we feel, particularly through the experience of making and how it affects the way our environment looks.

By providing a platform for artwork created by people living with mental health challenges, we are challenging the low expectations and stigma that still surrounds mental health today. We are a place to talk and be heard!

Archived Work Showcase

Our Story

Designs in Mind started 30 years ago – in 1993 – after our Founder Jo moved to Shropshire and started working in an NHS ‘psychiatric’ day centre.

Jo was frustrated by the lack of ambition in the day centre. Many of the individuals attending had potential which wasn’t being encouraged or celebrated, and there was an atmosphere of low expectations.
Starting a creative group dedicated to working on ambitious and challenging art projects had a transformative impact on the mental health of those taking part. People felt valued and grew in ambition and confidence.

During this time the group worked on many local public commissions which can still be seen today – including embroidered pub signs of Oswestry (which now hang in Oswestry Guildhall), steel bollards and mosaics surrounding ‘The Green’ in Eastern Oswestry, and decorative mosaics in The Redwoods Centre, Shrewsbury.

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The Story Continues

In 2000 the group left the setting of the NHS Day Centre, and eventually found its home in the centre of Oswestry – our current location.

Designs in Mind has grown in both size and ambition – there are now around 100 of us working together on exciting projects.

We have continued to work on exciting and striking local commissions including creating lanterns for Love Oswestry’s Lantern Parade, screen printed glass panels featuring designs inspired by stem cell research for Professor Richardson’s Memorial Garden at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, and a fingerprint themed mural based around ‘Identity’ for High Street Heritage Action Zones and Oswestry Cultural Consortium.

A new undertaking for us has been working on exciting design commissions for national homeware and fabric companies. This has been an incredible opportunity for our members’ work to be seen on a larger platform than ever before, and on a wide range of products.

Our 2022 collaboration with Scion (Sandersons) has been a highlight for us – we created designs based around the theme ‘Happy Home’, focusing on items, animals, and things that make our homes feel like a positive place to be, and boost our mental health.

We are incredibly excited to be working on new design commissions – watch this space!

Designs in Mind now has a high street presence – in 2022 we took on the lease for the shop below our studios. We now occupy the whole building!

Being on the high street is creating new opportunities for us to be a part of the local community, having our work and handmade items available to buy on the high street, and bringing mental health awareness to the town centre.

This is further allowing us to create new opportunities and pathways for people living with mental health challenges to learn and develop transferrable skills that are improving wellbeing and helping people to live full lives.

Our creative ambition is continuing to grow, and we are helping to smash the stigma surrounding mental health along the way.

Our Values

Act With Purpose
We want to see people living with mental health challenges achieving their full potential. Providing a creative purpose is changing lives – our weekly workshops are a place where people can achieve beyond their own expectations.
Having a sense of purpose is helping people find new ways forward – improving self esteem and confidence through working together and being involved in a creative process from start to finish.

Recognise we are all individuals
We want to be a place that people can come and be seen as an individual, rather than just as their mental health diagnosis. We celebrate the things that make us all different
Inclusivity is important to Designs in Mind, we offer everyone who comes through the door group support whilst acknowledging individual preference. Understanding what is important to an individual is essential, including meeting their personal, cultural, social, and religious needs. Our studios and ground floor space are fully accessible and wheelchair friendly.

Encourage creative adventure
Creativity is fun! Focusing on creative problem solving and artistic development can be a great distraction from outside struggles. Building a range of skills across different artistic practices is creating exciting opportunities for our members, as well as helping to build mental strength and improve wellbeing.
Through creating, people learn that mistakes are a part of the process and can apply resilience to other parts of their life.

Create an environment of warmth
When you walk through the door of Designs in Mind you’ll be greeted by our warm and friendly community. We all work alongside, members, staff, and volunteers, on exciting and ambitious art and design projects.
Our varied community groups – singing, reading, gardening – are building friendships and connections that extend beyond the studio and are helping people build support networks.

    “Designs In Mind helps me apply myself then I can also apply myself outside. I am then not over-whelmed.”

    “I have learnt that I am welcome and that having mental illness is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.”

    “I find it useful spending time with other people who all understand the difficulties of mental health.”