Church to host mental health art exhibition

Dawn Li, spiritual support volunteer, Natasha Reynolds, contributing artist, Veronica Rackham, assis

Dawn Li, spiritual support volunteer, Natasha Reynolds, contributing artist, Veronica Rackham, assistant practitioner, and chaplain Julie Warren with some of the artwork. Picture: NSFT - Credit: Archant

Mental health is the focus of an exhibition at Great Yarmouth Minster as artwork by service users, volunteers and staff at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) go on display.

Journeying With Hope is the brainchild of NSFT chaplain Julie Warren and Anna Heydon, development worker at Imagine Norfolk Together.

It aims to promote the benefits of creative expression along the path of recovery and mental wellbeing.

The artwork, which will be on display from Friday, October 5 to Saturday, October 6 between 9.30am and 4pm, includes inventive, thought-provoking and inspiring paintings, drawings, photographs, verse, music and a table collage of encouraging words and images.

Natasha Reynolds is one of the many service users across the trust who have contributed to the exhibition.

She said: “It helps me to bring out what I feel inside. I love art. I’ve loved art since I was 11. My grandad taught me how to paint and I have been painting ever since.

“I had a breakdown when nan and mum died and I gave up everything, including my art, but dad encouraged me to get back into it and it’s been a big part of my getting well again.

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“If your mood’s low, doing art lifts your mood and lights up your day. It’s something to concentrate on and helps me to cope with problems. It’s very relaxing.”

Staff and volunteers in the trust’s spiritual and pastoral care team have been supporting service users in expressing their creativity.

Imagine Norfolk Together is a partnership between the Diocese of Norwich and the Church Urban Fund.

Rev Simon Ward, team rector at the Minster, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Journeying With Hope to the Minster.

“So many people in our community struggle with issues of mental wellbeing and it’s vital to highlight this and explore the part art can play in supporting people. I have seen first-hand how important art can be to help people express feelings which they struggle to put into words.”

John Dashwood, who designed the stained-glass windows of The Haven, formerly called The Chapel, at NSFT’s Hellesdon Hospital, was also commissioned to do work at Great Yarmouth Minster.