Creative Crafts

A accredited art course for unemployed learners in York, Selby and Ryedale

January – August 2012


We worked with three small groups to develop creative ideas and experiment with different media.

Learners were encouraged to understand the importance of planning and learned to reflect on their own work. The course offered lots of hands-on opportunities and individual learning plans for each participant to set personal goals and increase well-being and confidence through building social networks, developing trust, identity and self-esteem.

The course, which was delivered by Magnetic Directors, was for unemployed people referred through community mental health recovery services. It  ran over 20 sessions in York and Selby and six sessions in Ryedale and with the aim of moving people closer to further training and employment opportunities.

Participants and their friends and families had the opportunity to see their work on public display with exhibitions in York and Malton.


Artwork on display in Malton

The course helped learners with no previous experience in this area create drawings, painting, prints, collage and sculptures. They were able to reflect on their own creative practice and talk more confidently about their work and themselves. They developped their own ideas and executed them creatively. The course helped them to establish a routine of regular attendance and have an understanding of health and safety in a creative workspace.

In the words of the participants…

“I didn’t think I had any capability in art but I, and all the other participants, have found that we do.”
“Once the group is at work, there is no distinction between tutors, ‘service users’ and support workers. I think that’s good.”

“My artistic ability was nil until I started this course.”
“Our tutor made us believe in ourselves.”
“I’ve enjoyed integrating with other people and seeing their artistic flair. I have learned new skills.”
“I’ve found it relaxing and absorbing.”
“It’s nice to work with other people. It’s good to have this interaction.”
“I think the course is absolutely fantastic – it shows how you can improve yourself.”
“This course has given me the opportunity to exhibit my work, which is really important to me.”
“It has helped me get out of the house, given me the opportunity to have contact with people and connected me with the York art community.”
“The course helped my confidence, being with others who were kind to each other in the group.”
“This art course has increased my artistic knowledge through experimentation and I learnt new skills.”
“It has given me greater confidence to express myself.”
“It made me want to continue with further courses.”
“This kick-started my creativity again.”

In the words of the support workers…

“We greatly value any programme like this which can help our service users in the direction of recovery.”
“This course has been of great therapeutic value to those who have attended. It has increased their confidence and helped reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Without exception they have discovered an ability in creative arts which they did not know they possessed.”

Visitors to the exhibition said…

“Really impressive and a great space!”
“I really liked the quotes from participants on how it feels to use their talents. Loads more please – brilliant!”
“Long many you build confidence in such creative people.”