In February 2013 I signed a contract with the NHS to be a volunteer, specifically to work with the Warneford mental health hospital in Oxford and in particular the “Echoes” group who provided art-based therapy for in and out-patients. I was usually very inspired by the work the ‘users’ made and personally I gained a lot from the project. “The Echoes Group” has shut down, but the artist contacts I made during that time I have largely kept going, I was invited to two private views in the last twelve months from those contacts.
I received this email below recently (some personal details have been redacted), it is something that I plan to get involved in for two reasons:
Firstly it will continue in the same vein as other work that I think is valuable to the users. Secondly, aside from the funded aspect, it will expose me to professional practice outside of my current experience.
Dear John and Anne-Marie,
I have successfully managed to secure funding for workshops at Oxford Center for Enablement (OCE), situated on the site of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.
The League of Friends Charity have provided funding for six workshops in the day centre of the OCE, http://www.ouh.nhs.uk/oce/
The workshops will be a pilot project and provide evidence and evaluation so that they can apply for a larger pot of funding in the future.
The “Clients” as they are called at the centre are mostly wheel chair users and have limited use of their limbs, some have difficulty speaking and or moving but they are fully able to communicate and lead fulfilled lives. The day centre would like to provide activities for their clients that attend the day centre including arts activities and music. I have a lot of experience of the OCE, having worked there from 2004 – 2012.
During the pilot I would like to provide a range of arts activities, designed specifically for the needs of the OCE, so the staff can see the benefits and can make a good application for funding. Would you both be interested in supporting the pilot? It could lead to more work in the future similar to the workshops we provided at Fusion but with a slightly different focus.
John could you let me know if you would like to take part, either as a volunteer to support the workshops or leading photography workshops like you did at Fusion? I could support you with this. They have done some photography before.
Anne Marie can you let me know if you would like to take part and how many workshops you might be able to commit to. I am happy to run some on my own some and support you on others but I would like to be able to leave you to run some on your own or with John as support.
The money is really limited in the pilot so I can only offer XXX per session but the sessions will only be an 1 – 1.5 hours.
Days the OCE have said are available are:
Any Tuesday, 1300; and Thursday 1300; Mondays: 9/5 or 16/5, 1300.
(We can work around these).
If you let me know if you are interested then we can all meet at the OCE to see the space, meet the staff and clients and work out a plan. I would like to get it all done before the summer.
John I am also doing some work on a canal project over the summer and I will need a photographer to document the event, if you are interested. I have a budget for this work.