A pilot project set up with SARSAS and funded by Quartet. SARSAS support people who have experienced rape and sexual abuse. They asked me to create and run a series of Creative workshops for small groups of participants, as a pilot project to assess the value of this work. We ran two groups, one in November 2019, one in February 2020, both at St Werburgh’s Community Centre.
The workshops created a safe, secure, gentle environment and an inspiring space to help unlock people’s creative potential. We worked with collage, clay and mixed media, exploring themes of personal creativity, resilience and calm spaces.
17 participants were directly affected by the project and outcome scores showed an average 39% increase in overall wellbeing for all participants. All women reported feeling more connected and reduced social isolation:
” I have been struggling with depression and anxiety for years. I have been isolated in my flat & become so lonely. A safe space to come to has helped me leave the house on my own”
Participants benefitted from the opportunity to be creative: “I feel in pain a lot so when I`m making art I feel more-calm”
Participants found it helpful to identify with other women’s experiences, and to understand they were not alone in their life challenges and struggles: “I’ve been longing to know that I’m not alone, to be with others who – without saying anything – REALLY understand because they KNOW – they’ve BEEN THERE!”
On the back of this successful pilot, we will be developing and running more creative workshops to support the health and wellbeing of those who have experienced sexual abuse and rape. We will continue to evaluate the success of this work in partnership with psychologists from UWE.