Women's Art Group
Over the last few months, we have been working in partnership with Transform Arts CIC on a creative art project exclusively for women, funded by the Scottish Borders Council.
Our creative sessions enable women to explore their creativity, experiment with a wide variety of art mediums and recyclable materials, and create wonderful works of art. Our sessions have proven beneficial for participants in boosting their confidence and self-esteem.
The program aimed to provide a safe and inclusive space where participants are allowed to be creative, share stories, relax, and chat about anything and everything. There was a soft focus on employability woven into the programme, allowing participants to discuss their barriers to employment if and when they felt comfortable doing so.
During the first 10-week block we had 8 women engaging regularly. 3 have secured employment, 3 are now in volunteering positions and 2 have disclosed that our group is the first that they have engaged with since the coronavirus pandemic as they suffer from anxiety and have struggled to leave the house.
We aim for participants to leave the programme with a clearer view of their work and life aspirations, with updated CVs and the tools they need to successfully apply for jobs or a return to education as well as a greater understanding of themselves and what they have to offer.
“It’s the highlight of my week. Issues with my mental health make me struggle in social
situations, but I enjoy this group so much that I’m not afraid of coming anymore"
“I honestly think that if I was not coming to this group, I’d be horribly depressed and feeling
miserable. I am filled with dread at the thought of this group ending. What will I do?”
“I am a domestic abuse survivor and this woman-only group has given me a space to feel
safe, even more than I do in my own home.”
“It has been a delight to partner with Works + on the delivery of the
women's art sessions. Charlie was a diamond, helping to create a warm,
welcoming and open space for the women to be themselves and gain/
give support from each other, alongside pushing their boundaries when
it came to creativity.
We could see the participants confidence growing as the project progressed, both socially and creatively. Growing their ability to experiment and take risks in
the art-making process, in a safe environment, helped them build skills that are transferrable to other areas of life and work, for example letting go of being a
perfectionist, or over-worrying about others opinions. The women shared so much and created a supportive space where they could voice worries or talk about issues that they may not be able to do anywhere else. This felt especially
important that it was a woman-only space. They were often really chuffed with things they had made, and many
have put them up in their homes or given them as gifts. The participants gained support with their employability by spending that extra time with Charlie where she could gain insights which were
helpful for her to tailor her help for each person. It also meant they would gradually reach out for more help than they maybe would otherwise if it were a less personal approach. There were also repeated
affirmations of supportive comments from everyone in the space helped to embed small but significant changes
changes in self-perception, and huge changes for some. Although there is a greater investment needed for this whole person
approach the impacts I can see lasting for the much longer term. I am missing them already!”
Lara Green, Transform Arts CIC.