Pallant Partners is a National Lottery Community Fund project that started in 2018. It has seen the Gallery partner with local organisations to increase creative opportunities for the people they work with. Prior to the project some of the groups had not had any previous engagement with us.
The success of the partnerships has included the way people now feel comfortable visiting us and how art has become an important part of people’s lives.
The project has also enabled us to create resources and opportunities that can be shared with other local groups. A highlight has been establishing a bi-annual Support Workers Networking and Wellbeing Event. These events also help us to share best practice and update support staff with the opportunities that we have at the Gallery for the people they work with.
We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for enabling this extended outreach work to take place and would like to thank all the partner organisations, participants and artists who have been involved.
A group such as this is vital to the mental health wellbeing of people and staff. Not only does it help increase self-esteem and a sense of achievement, it gives them the opportunity to unite with a focus and a sense of belonging to something. It gives people the space and time to start interacting again with other people, some people find this so hard.
We have seen such positive progress from our service users attending the group in so many ways, for example … friendships are made and developed, people are realising that they can achieve. There is no right or wrong in art and this is what the artist facilitators teach us. It also brings people back into the community and helps them to feel part of the community.
Community Psychiatric Nurse, Early Intervention Psychosis Service
“The art sessions are so beneficial, they are the best attended activity that is offered to the people we support.
The sessions have an air of tranquillity about them, everyone is so engaged with what they’re doing, and the time goes so quickly. This allows their mind to be free of any challenges they may be experiencing and focus on what they are creating.
It is wonderful to see how delighted people are, with what they have achieved and wanting to take away their art with them.”
Julia Dendle, Group Coordinator, Communities in Mind (Chichester and Arun)
Who are the Pallant Partners?
Westergate House Care Home
Westergate House is a nursing and residential care home in Fontwell. Specialising in Dementia care they offer a ‘person centred’ approach to enabling people to pursue their interests and independence.
Artist Educators accompanied by Gallery staff have visited Westergate House monthly to facilitate conversations about art and run creative workshops. Sessions have been full of laughter and fun as people have tried new things and enjoyed the freedom and focus creative activity offers. The group have explored themes such as Still Life, Landscape and Nature. Residents of Westergate House have also enjoyed outings to the Gallery to see the exhibitions and sample the Pallant Café’s delicious cheese scones!
Stonepillow support and empower homeless and vulnerable people to achieve sustainable independence and wellbeing.
Prior to Covid-19 we ran regular sessions in the Bognor Hostel. Since Covid-19 we have run a creative session for staff and are creating a resource for support workers to use when visiting the Gallery.
Early Intervention in Psychosis Service
Early Intervention in Psychosis Service (EIPS) provides community-based support to people aged 14 to 65 years old who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Early intervention means getting help quickly for unusual, distressing experiences in order to start recovery as soon as possible and to reduce the likelihood of future episodes occurring.
During their first phase of the project workshops were run from the Bedale Centre in Bognor. After Covid-19 the group sessions moved to the Gallery Studio. The group have taken part in a wide variety of creative workshops including Photo Walks on Bognor Seafront and ceramic sessions.
“It’s great to have the space to work large and be messy!”
Participant from ‘Early Intervention in Psychosis Service
Communities in Mind, West Sussex Mind (Over 65s Group)
Many people experience social isolation and this impacts their mental health and well-being. Communities in Mind help people over 65 (in Chichester, Arun and Adur districts) who are feeling low, have depression, anxiety or other mental health needs, especially if they are isolated.
Pallant House Gallery Artist educator Jo Dowers has facilitated regular creative sessions with Communities in Mind. The sessions have created a space where people have felt able to explore new skills and be creative in a sociable environment.
Pathfinder West Sussex (Chichester and Bognor)
Pathfinder is an alliance of organisations who work together to enable people with mental health support needs, and their carers, to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
The Gallery have worked with Pathfinder over the past year to offer bespoke Gallery taster sessions as part of the ‘Pathfinder 5 Ways to Wellbeing’ Programme. These taster sessions have been a catalyst to encourage people to experience the wellbeing benefit of looking at art and a way to introduce the Gallery’s Community Programme to new audiences.
Connolly House is an Inpatient Recovery Unit in Chichester for people with mental health issues.
Over the past 12 months creative sessions have taken place twice a month at Connolly House in the designated art room. These sessions have been led by Gallery Artist Educator, Iona Hughes. Iona has tailored sessions to meet the needs and interests of the group and enabled people to experience different techniques, learn new skills and meet others within the security of a familiar and safe space. Favourite sessions have included etching, making hand built clay objects and collagraph printing.
Chichester Social Prescribing Service
Social prescribing is an opportunity for people to talk through some of the non-medical issues in their life, which may be having an adverse impact on their health and wellbeing. Supporting people in a holistic way, to connect with opportunities that best suit their needs and interests. Recognising that people’s health is often affected by a range of social factors and taking part in community activities can promote wellbeing and improve mental health. People can be referred into the Chichester Social Prescribing service through their local GP practice, a health professional, or now through self-referral.
Our Creative Conversations sessions have been developed with the aim of reaching people who are accessing social prescribing services. The sessions have provided a space where people can meet at the Gallery to informally discuss artworks. The sessions are facilitated by Gallery staff and all thoughts and opinions are valued and encouraged. The sessions end with time to enjoy refreshments together and carry on the conversations.