Boosting mental health and wellbeing through art and crafts.

Art, Craft and Photo exhibition is held at The Sanctuary in Widnes community project.

The Sanctuary community project based in Widnes has again found a way to make a difference with an event ran for the community, by the community. Inspired by witnessing the positive impact that art and crafts can have in helping people to maintain their mental health and wellbeing, Revd Laura Leatherbarrow organised the event.

The aim of the event was to boost mental health and wellbeing as well as highlighting the gifts of the talented people within Widnes. The call went out to all crafters, artists, photographers, quilters, fabric designers, portrait artists, fine art, abstract, jewellery makers, paper, flower makers, card makers, from within Halton borough, to come and display their works of art within the church building.
As well as ‘The Sanctuary’ hosting the event and providing free refreshments throughout the day, the usual weekly group still ran and provided much-needed support to the people in the local community.

On the day, Derek Twigg former MP for Halton came to open it and spent time talking to Sanctuary users, Stall holders and people who came through the doors to see the exhibition and perhaps buy a present for someone in their family.

The stalls included, exquisite Jewellery from Daisy May, Handicrafts and knitting from Irene, some amazing carved and painted eggs (think Faberge), Pins and needles and Handmade Cards. Photographs by Julie, and a different Photographer Simon. And Paintings and Embroidery as well as glasswork by people from The Sanctuary- including Tracy and Rev Laura herself.

MIND provided some much-needed advice and booklets and raised awareness of the need to be able to talk freely about Mental Health issues, while Jimmy’s stall took everyone on a nostalgia trip with Boys Brigade memorabilia of the last 100yrs; which gained lots of interest and raised the awareness of the group in the local area.

We hope to let others know of this group from GP practices, wellbeing practices and of course the local council. Sanctuary users spoke of how they appreciated this group’s warm welcome stating ‘it’s a place where you can be safe, not judged and loved for who you are.’ The group includes all ages from young mums with Children and babes in arms, to the grand age of 86! All ages support and care for one another, teaching each other new skills or just being a listening ear.

It was a magnificent event, for the community, by the community. It helped some to be appreciated, some to earn some money and for the many who come through our doors each week it was invaluable, it was a great event, filled with joy- in what feels at present, a very dark world.