Northumberland Recovery Partnership (NRP) is a drug and alcohol treatment service providing a range of recovery-orientated support options, including a structured abstinence-based day programme. The service is for anyone in Northumberland, 18 years old or over, who is experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol.
bait has worked with NRP for the last four years, beginning with art taster sessions in 2014. These were so successful that a weekly art project in Blyth Recovery Centre was developed throughout 2015 - 16, leading NRP to submit a bid to the Rayne Foundation for two years of funding. This project was designed to firmly establish an arts mentoring programme to wider Northumberland clients.
The arts mentoring programme is still being delivered by artist Tommy Anderson, a North East based artist and graphic designer whose practice combines typography, aerosol art, photography, visual/audio collage and music. He is an experienced arts facilitator and mentor, delivering progressive participatory arts programmes.
The programme has developed client’s individual art skills, enabling creativity to be part of their everyday life choices. The art programme has also enabled people to connect to their communities and environment, as well as strengthen peer relationships.
Overall during the 2 years (16/17) a total of 70 NRP service users engaged with the arts programme across 4 NRP centres and achieved a total of 182 AQA accreditations.
The Recovery Arts Programme has been hugely successful in engaging NRP service users – helping them to discover / enjoy the arts and learn new skills whilst achieving a range of accreditations. The workshops and cultural visits provide an ideal social environment for NRP service users to relax, be creative and express themselves – building positive and meaningful relationships with other members of the group, myself and NRP peer mentors. Participants often express how the arts programme has benefited their recovery process on both a personal and social level and helped improve their confidence and self-esteem.
We asked the group, in confidence, about their experience with the arts:
"It’s really good for keeping me occupied and stop my mind from wandering to negative things.”
"The programme was good for my recovery, I found it very relaxing. It was nice to socialise with the group in a more relaxed atmosphere.”
"I enjoyed all aspects of the arts programme – it brought back happy memories of doing art in the past. I’d like to do more art in the future – it gives me ideas to do art with my kids.”
"The art helped with my recovery – I found it relaxing and enjoyable and it took my mind off other problems. Tommy was fantastic and very helpful and friendly.”
"I feel like I’ve actually achieved something and enjoyed it.”
"It’s really calming – almost like meditation.”
People who taken part in this arts programme have experienced an increase in wellbeing of 19%.
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This project was commissioned by Woodhorn Charitable Trust through the bait programme.
bait is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery.
bait works in partnership to support more people in South East Northumberland to create and take part in inspiring and high quality arts experiences. All projects aim to build a stronger future for the people who live here.