The Moments Café and Memory Matters Hub in Plymouth is the weekly home of the Mindful Art Club sessions. Made in Plymouth Reporter, Issy Herring, went along to find out more about what it offers – and why.
Located at 69a New George Street in the Arthur Read space, this event runs every Friday afternoon in the café from 1.00-2.30pm. These weekly sessions are a pressure-free and informal social space for local people in the area. Places are completely free of charge due to funding from The Devon Mental Health Alliance, which makes these sessions accessible to all in the Plymouth area. Every Friday afternoon, The Mindful Art Club founders Emma Sprawson and Peggy Melmoth encourage the group to talk about how they are feeling, before practising mindfulness and self-care, then taking part in a simple art themed activity.
This is one of the few yet fantastic creative initiatives in the city aiming to tackle the ongoing issue of loneliness and social isolation, especially notable within older generations currently residing in Plymouth. These weekly sessions are intended to try and improve the mental health of the city’s residents as well as allowing participants to be fully themselves in a small, friendly group setting.
Run by founders and qualified mental health professionals Emma Sprawson and Peggy Melmoth, each weekly creative session brings local people together in the central hub of Plymouth’s city centre, making these events easy to reach and affordable to all.
Emma Sprawson and Peggy Melmoth spoke about this wonderful initiative: “We’re a mental health organisation that does art, not an art organisation that does mental health.”
“People often think we are just an arts and crafts group, but that is not true. What distinguishes us from other organisations is our mental health background. For example, Emma and Peggy are both mental health professionals, and Peggy is a qualified counsellor meaning we can help our participants manage their own mental health and improve their quality of life.”
“Mindful Art Club® improves mental health and reduces social isolation using creativity and conversation. We empower people to make positive changes in their lives.”
“Mindful Art Club® is fun and relaxing. Do you remember when you enjoyed art as a child without judging your ability or results? In Mindful Art Club®, no one is judged for what they create. These easy-going art sessions are purely to help you to deal with anxiety, stress and daily worries.”
As well as being qualified mental health professionals, Sprawson and Melmoth have also previously obtained BA (Hons) degrees in art. Before creating and running the Mindful Art Club sessions, the duo worked at Broadreach House Addiction Treatment Centre, successfully running a number of creative workshops and activities for the centre’s residents. Unfortunately, Broadreach House got shut down back in July 2019 due to a lack of government funding. As a result, Sprawson and Melmoth realised that they still wanted to make a change within the local community and have since offered weekly sessions at the Mindful Art Club to aid anxiety and stress. They also lead other supportive weekly community groups and one day retreats in the Plymouth area – you can find more information on the Mindful Art Club Facebook page.
The Mindful Art Club have launched a Crowdfunder page as an attempt to raise funds for the programme. There are also different rewards on offer in lieu of donations, such as downloadable mindfulness exercises and wellbeing bundles: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/mindfulartclub. The club also offer free anxiety reducing colouring pages via their website: https://mindfulartclub.co.uk.