The NetPark Wellbeing project is run by Southend Borough Council and the charity Metal. It provides art classes for people living with dementia, as well as people with mental illness, depression & learning difficulties.
The classes combine art and technology in an innovative style of art therapy, with the participants taking photos of Chalkwell park (where the classes are held) and then layering digital art on top, helping them to express memories and painful feelings through their work.
It's run by Emma Mills - a trained art psychotherapist, along with volunteers. On the dementia classes, Emma said "There was a need to do something to help people with dementia have a meaningfully creative outlet whilst giving their carers much needed free respite."
And the classes are doing truly amazing things for those who take part.
Of the 800 participants who've been involved with the project so far, 84% have said their self confidence has improved, 81% have said their symptoms of social isolation have reduced and 72% said symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress had improved.
Metal currently run 2 NetPark Wellbeing art groups per day, but they also have a lot of people on waiting lists.
Sadly my lovely dad has dementia and in the earlier days of his illness we really struggled to find places we could take him. I saw the NetPark Wellbeing project on Instagram and got in touch as I knew it was something Dad would have enjoyed and benefitted from. Unfortunately they were full when I contacted them and by the time a spot became available my dad’s dementia had got so much worse, he wasn’t able to go along.
Unfortunately, the rate of decline can be so quick with dementia that people really need to be able to get onto the classes straight away.
With more money, the NetPark Wellbeing project would be able to put on more groups, meaning so many more people could benefit. It’s well documented that mental activities and socialising can help to slow the progression of dementia down, and without this sort of thing it really can progress at a devastating rate, so projects like this are invaluable.
Through this sale, I wanted to do my bit to support this project, and give others an opportunity to do so as well.
Although offered to participants for free, there are naturally a lot of costs associated with running these classes, including the staffing fees, art materials and travel costs for the volunteers who help run the sessions.
Everyone who's bought a Golden Ticket has donating directly to this cause, so thank you so much for your contribution. If you didn't manage to bagsy a ticket, but would still like to donate to this fabulous cause, you can do so by following the link below. Thank you so much for your support X