After what feels like an age Thursday evening saw the opening of our brand new shop and studio.
We now inhabit all 3 floors of the building and our doors open directly onto Cross Street.
We can now provide public workshops, have an extra studio space, a Listen and Connect room and a Designs in Mind shop where we can shout about the wonderful products our members design and make.
The evening kicked off with a rousing performance from our singing group, followed by speeches from Designs in Mind founder Jo and Joint CEO Cai.
Heartfelt speeches followed from Members; Willow, Carl, Maddy and Lisa.
“When I walked into the Jolt shop over 5 years ago I was amazed to learn that the products were made down the alley and up the stairs in a design studio. I was even more amazed to learn that the people in this studio had mental health challenges like me.
After having a lovely conversation with Ellie (an ex member) about how to get referred, I rang my GP the same day.
Within a few weeks I was walking up those steep, terrifying stairs into the unknown.
I don’t remember much about the first few months, I was in a dark place after losing my Dad to suicide. But what I do remember is the warmth and encouragement from both staff and other members.
As the months passed I grew to love this place more and more, not just the place but the people too.
It’s not just somewhere to go, it’s family. It’s knowing if you are having a bad day people understand.
Without a doubt Designs in Mind saved my life.
My confidence grew and I started volunteering in the jolt shop. I was over the moon when Catherine asked me to take over the social media, having a Chronic Illness I never thought I would work again.
This role has changed so much over the past 3 years, with the introduction of our Good Egg Project I got to work closer with members and go out into the community to show people what Designs in Mind is all about.
And then Covid hit!
Roles changed for everyone but we carried on providing support to members throughout the Pandemic, when most other services closed.
I volunteered with our Listen and Connect Team, making valuable phone calls to members to let them know they were not alone.
Since then I have moved on from Social Media to the blog, telling member stories and sharing what we are doing both in and out of the Studio.
Earlier this year I started the Gardening Group and I am so proud of everyone involved, including myself.
We have transformed a dark, miserable space into somewhere quite special. I am looking forward to it developing even more next year.
Being at Designs in Mind has given me the confidence to develop my own talents, including my biggest passion needle felting, which I learnt to do here at Designs in Mind.
In the first session Bridie terrified me by saying how sharp the needles are and that they are barbed and will get stuck in your fingers if you do it too hard….. in the 3 years I’ve been needle felting this has never happened to me thankfully.
I am stepping down from my paid role at Christmas to develop my own handmade business.
It has been an amazing opportunity, one I will never forget.”
“Dear Family and friends, we are here again for another special evening.
There’s no launch of such, well, there is. Not in terms of a project, but in terms of a dream.
When I was asked too say something about tonight? I refused. But then I went home, slept on it, and then put my name forward. Glad I did, I am humble and privileged.
For a long while I was looking for that place, and after years of searching I have found it. They say you can choose you friends and family? I agree, as you are all here tonight.
Like an Artistes pallet, there are individual colours, and those colours go to make a masterpiece. This masterpiece, Designs in Mind.
And obviously the shop has been my canvas for most of the year, I haven’t been working nine till five, nor have I been looking for any service or devotion, but it’s one way to make a living I guess.
There’s certainly one person that on any given day would be here with us. Alison, or the Artist I as called her. Your deeply missed by everyone here. So I hope wherever you are? Your painting away, with a few gins near by, You may be gone, but your presence will always be here with us all.
And just like that 80’s sitcom
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came,
You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same,
You want to be where everybody knows your name…….Cheers!”
On display were some extraordinary pieces of embroidery from one of the first Members Pam Edwards, back when Designs in Mind was The Project Group.
Unfortunately Pam passed away in 2021, we were honoured to be joined by members of her family.
Also on display was this year’s raffle prize, an embroidered bed runner made up of designs from one of this year’s drawing projects.
And Pockets from our most recent studio project. Designed and made by Members, these pockets are definitely wearable art.
The evening progressed with much merriment, food and drinks organised by Members, Nicola and Lisa were literally the icing on the cake.
Thank you to everyone who made this evening possible.
Posted by Maddy Moore, Good Egg Team and Member