Arts Network provides a supportive welcoming space for participants to explore their creativity, socialise and feel part of the community. Our free service is primarily aimed at people who have severe and enduring mental health support needs, with a focus on those who are isolated and have little or no resources or support.
We offer the opportunity for members to learn new art, craft and IT skills as a tool to encourage positive mental wellbeing, and put structure into peoples day. As our members health improves, we also facilitate members to become mentors to our new members. They can then go on to become co facilitators or facilitators. We also make preparations for training, volunteering and paid work as our staff and practitioners are uniquely placed to understand the challenges faced by our members.
As well as our workshops at the Lee Centre, we regularly support our members to show their work at exhibitions, take part in local events and participate in trips to museums, art galleries and heritage sites.
We feel that it’s essential for members to have a sense of ownership over what happens in the workroom sessions, how the organisation is run and what services we can offer. We have three member Trustees on our Board, and hold regular meetings for members to socialise and offer feedback in a friendly and informal setting. We also offer the opportunity for members to grow within the organisation; whether this be through acting as ambassadors, mentoring others, co facilitating workshops or remaining as associate members once they have finished a regular engagement with the project.
Arts Network has provided services in a number of different capacities for twenty years; our core team is a legacy of artists, teachers, project managers and mental health professionals who have been working together since 1996. In 2012, Creative Director Mo Saunders, and the board of Trustees launched Art Network (previously known as SELAN) as an independent charity.
Since 2012 Arts Network has received core funding from the Maudsley Charity to run the organisation for two days a week. In 2015 we gained match funding from the Henry Smith Foundation. This has enabled us to expand our service, develop relationships with key organisations, and grow our service provision.
Other funders now include Igen, Awards for All, Lewisham Council and the Archer Trust.