Arts & miNDs is an arts for wellbeing session for neurodivergent adults, this specific session will run alongside our mental health groups and separate to the groups for adults with learning disabilities.
What do we mean by neurodivergent?
Different people have different wiring. Neurodiversity can include Autism, ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia.
Neurodiversity – Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
These groups are aimed at adults over 18, with or without a formal diagnosis – if you identify as neurodivergent you are welcome.
We (GAP) recognised the need for a dedicated service for the neurodivergent community, we have received many referrals in the past for autistic adults, who do not always ‘fit’ in our regular groups as they are structured and follow a timetable – we are planning more of a fluid timetable for this group, meeting the needs of the participants.
In all our sessions the 5 Ways to Wellbeing approach underpins all our planning. We know from our own impact evaluation that individuals really appreciate the opportunity to learn new things, give themselves the time to notice their surroundings, connect with others, give support to others in the group and be active in the community.
Our aim is for an ongoing project that encourages people to connect with their community in which they live and keep learning through introducing topics such as art history, culture, community and the environment. We will encourage the group to take notice of their surroundings with mindfulness activities and be active by regularly attending the group and building on forming friendships in and outside of the group, meeting for coffee or walks in the park thereby encouraging social connectedness and peer support. Our long-term goal, as we will be seeking longer term funding, is for the participants tobe able to give something back by mentoring new attendees or helping out at the group.
Unlike other projects ours is not time limited. People are able to access a safe, supportive group as and when they need it most. Most people come to one or other of our ongoing sessions sometimes some people come to all of them as they need the distraction and the social contact.
Many friendships and supportive relationships have been forged in our groups and our evaluation evidences that this model works we will adopt this ‘no discharge’ policy to this new group.
We envisage this new session will be peer lead, we already have some autistic participants who are participating and volunteering with our new group. We always consult with our participants about the projects we run, we have an evaluation sheet at the end of our current sessions asking people what they want to do in upcoming sessions. We envisage having several stations of arts and crafts available for people to use. We will encourage people to share their interests and skills share where appropriate, if people wish we can have guest speakers or artists visit.
We are working closely with referring organisations like The Bureau, Derbyshire Autism Services, Neuro Diverse Self Advocacy and various health practitioners. We work with people pre and post diagnostic and can be a signposting agency to other support services like Citizen’s Advice Bureau, The Careers Service and befriending services. We offer mental health support within the sessions, the facilitator Sonja Quirk has undertaken autism awareness training, mental health first aid and is a qualified social worker of 20 years, Sonja is available for one to one support for a variety of reasons, from signposting, listening and advice to practical advice around self-care, health and wellbeing and much more.
Thursday 1-3pm and 7-9pm
The Thursday afternoon group is well attended and is a quiet reflective group who enjoy peer support, talking and sharing and supporting each other. We have found it both useful and interesting to have a discussion topic each week and this will often focus the artwork produced. The Special Interests group was ace!! We had trains and Tarot and many more interesting subjects.
The evening is quieter but equally as interesting and useful. Most of the participants either work or are in education so some of the discussion topics are more practical.
We like to keep numbers to around 10-12 people max. at each session.
Victoria Hall Glossop SK13 7DQ
Sessions are free. Donations are welcome. Equipment and refreshments are provided. No arts experience necessary!
For more information or to book a place get in touch with us.