01 August 2019

Mental health trust staff, service users and carers get creative

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Staff, service users and carers from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health NHS Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust have come together to enhance the working environment at the Trust's Headquarters.

In total 12 staff, including those from clinical and corporate teams, worked with nine service users and two carers on the Co-Create project, which provided them with the opportunity to work together to create artwork.

The idea of bringing service users, carers and staff together to co-produce artwork was developed at the B&NES service user forum. Each service user or carer was matched with a member of staff to develop artwork in a variety of mediums, encouraging inclusivity and diversity.

The artwork was based around the themes 'what inspires me', 'what recovery means to me' and 'what identity means to me.' The service users and carers were paired with staff before their artwork was created to discuss the themes and then develop their work. They kept in touch with each other throughout the time they were creating their work and this was followed by an opportunity to meet in person to share their work with each other and discuss their thoughts and views."

Lee Rawlings, Local Involvement Co-ordinator for AWP in Bath and North East Somerset, said: "Working alongside service users and carers on an entirely equal level is what makes this project so enjoyable and inspiring. It was about building relationships, enhancing trust and allowed the service users and carers to have fun, feel valued and give something back to AWP, supporting their recovery through meaningful activity. When I saw all the completed work I felt so proud and can't wait to see the artwork on the walls of our Headquarters."

Simon Truelove, AWP's Interim Chief Executive, was involved in the project. He said: "I really enjoyed this project as it provided an opportunity for us to connect with those we provide services for and support. It was really interesting to discuss the themes and to hear people's thoughts on recovery, identity and inspiration. We hope that the artwork will continue to stimulate conversations within our working environment and create a mutual understanding between staff, service users and carers."

The final artwork will be displayed on walls around the Trust's Headquarters at Bath NHS House, Newbridge Hill, Bath.


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