8th Sep 2021

An LD:North East member enjoying the print project

A North Tyneside charity has been tackling isolation and poor mental health amongst people with learning disabilities using print making thanks to support from the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

LD:North East’s Therapeutic Print Project has been funded by the Squires Foundation Fund and the Daisy Marr Fund at the Community Foundation since 2014. The programme sees a small group of participants attend weekly sessions to learn a range of printing techniques and produce printed artwork in a relaxed environment. At the start of Covid-19 the sessions were halted and at-home printing kits were produced and delivered to the group. One participant summed up their experience saying “It relaxes me. It's good for me and it's good for my head."

Elaine Holdsworth, Senior Philanthropy Advisor who oversees the Daisy Marr Fund at the Community Foundation said:

“The creative talents of everyone who took part in the project are clear to see, and it is brilliant that the artwork is available for others to enjoy. This project is a great example of the way that longer term grant funding can support people to realise their potential.”

The print workshops are part of The Tomorrows Project at LD:North East which offers support to people living in North Tyneside who are growing older and have a learning disability or difficulty. The people on the project are socially isolated and lonely, often have poor mental health and are very vulnerable in the community. They are often targeted in their community and have been victims of hate crime.

Lisa Wild, Development Manager at LD:North East said:

“We run social activities every day at our offices in Wallsend for people on the project to attend, and to feel part of a community of welcome. Over the last couple of years the weekly print sessions have become a very important part of our activities programme and they have had a very positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the group who attend the sessions on a regular basis. Keeping them going during Covid was important and the Community Foundation were flexible in how we used the funds to adapt.”

The latest run of workshops has seen participants produce a range of printed artwork themed around the River Tyne. The initial plans to exhibit the works publicly were adapted and made into an online exhibition. An unforeseen benefit of the programme has been the group are now so proficient they are regularly producing cards to sell at LD:North East fundraising events.

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