What is your connection with Creativity Works?
I first made contact with Creativity Works last July. I’d stepped away from an office job and was ready to side-track my way towards a more creative place. Camilla, Creativity Work’s lovely Volunteer Support Worker, invited me to accompany her at Writing Space. This is a wonderful initiative: it’s a peer-led group for adults who’ve had or experience mental health illness. I was curious to see how writing in a group differs from writing alone. I was also apprehensive about being the stranger in the room but all my nerves melted away on arrival, thanks to the warm welcome I received (thank you Writing Space members!
I became the group’s volunteer. Every week has been enjoyable and exciting. The members contribute unique ideas and bring inspiration to use as writing prompts, such as mystery objects, nature finds, a book of proverbs …anything goes. It wasn’t long before they had me suggesting my own ideas. This kind of collaboration was refreshing to experience. Hearing their work was always a privilege, they’re a talented bunch, each with their own styles of writing and they aren’t afraid to experiment. And seeing how kind and supportive they are to one another was inspirational in itself. I got a real insight into how important groups like these are and the difference they make to people’s lives.
The group were able to use some of their precious funds to invite a professional writer to facilitate some sessions. To learn from the poet Alyson Hallett was an honour. Discovering new ways of writing and using different forms has helped us all progress. Writing Space continues to flourish. They recently exhibited a collection of poems and images in the Streets the Bath exhibition, as well as contributing to publications such as the In Mind of Violet Anthology.
As a volunteer I have also been fortunate enough to attend events led by skilled staff at Creativity Works. One example was a workshop in Facilitating Creativity and Mental Well Being. This was an action-packed day of rich material, thoroughly enjoyable and it was excellent to mix with artists from different domains.
In what way has Creativity Works been of value or support to you?
Following on from volunteering for Writing Space, things stepped up a gear…
I didn’t anticipate Creativity Works asking me if I would like to facilitate a new beginner’s writing group. As daunting as this prospect seemed, I knew this was an amazing opportunity. I accepted the challenge and was encouraged and supported throughout the process. Thinking up fun and original writing exercises got my imagination playing, and seeing the participants engaged in them was brilliant. By offering some gentle encouragement and seeing the creative writing in action has been both rewarding and humbling. What made the group so special, was the willingness of participants and my brilliant co-facilitator and volunteer who each brought their own colourful experiences and skills to the group. The 12-week course flew by. I’m scratching my head wondering how the time passed so quickly?
Do you have any creative aspirations for the future (with or without Creativity Works)?
Now that I’ve embarked on this creative way of working, I’m excited about where my path will take me next. I have An Hour a Day (a series of Creative Arts, Health and Wellbeing workshops) in Bath to look forward to, where I’ll be helping out and will no doubt meet more talented and creative individuals.
Thank you Creativity Works.