SALFORD’s hard to reach residents are the focus of a pilot taking arts and crafts classes directly into their communities.
Start in Salford, a third sector organisation based on Broad Street in Salford, offers creative arts, crafts and gardening classes to help vulnerable people from all walks of life to improve their skills and gain confidence. Historically, services in Salford have found it difficult to reach the city’s black and minority ethnic (BME) and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.
Now thanks to funding from NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation is offering a 12 week programme of arts and crafts classes called ‘Start Reaching Out’, aimed specifically at the BME and LGBT communities and held directly within the comfort of their own communities.
Bernadette Conlon, chief executive officer at Start in Salford said,
“Start Reaching Out has been an important piece of work for Start in Salford, thanks to funding through Salford CCG.
“The project has sought to engage with those groups that have been seen as hardest to reach, and through a range of enjoyable arts and creative sessions in their own locality, sought to improve both mental and physical well-being.
“The benefit to the people taking part is that they provide a creative environment, enabling them to feel less anxious and able to enjoy creative activities that can enhance their quality of life. Participants have grown in confidence and improved their social connections.”
Caroline Manackerman, a resident of Salford benefiting from the programme, said,
“Arts and crafts are a passion of mine and something that I have had an interest in all of my life. However, I used to find it difficult to be able to attend classes and mix with other people with a similar interest.
“Having the opportunity to get involved in these classes has been fantastic, when I come into the classes each week I forget about all of my problems, get into the sessions and relax.
“The classes are fun, the people who attend are friendly and encouraging to each other and the teachers are very helpful and friendly.”
Dr Mhairi Yates, a GP in Eccles and clinical lead for innovation at Salford CCG, said,
“Social isolation is a major issue affecting many of the city’s residents.
“This programme offers that vital link ensuring that some of our hardest to reach residents have that opportunity to develop skills, make friends and build confidence.
“In addition, the key workers involved in the project are in a position to identify where people may require further support and services and signpost them to these.”
More information on the work of Start in Salford can be found on their website www.startinsalford.org.uk.