​Arts & Culture

Arts charity aims to tackle mental health waiting lists for young people in BCP

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: February 5, 2024 | Updated: 14th February 2024

A Boscombe-based charity aims to use interim arts-based therapy sessions to help tackle NHS mental health waiting lists for children and young people across BCP.

Creative Kids, an arts education charity in Boscombe, has launched a series of arts-based Drawing and Talking therapy sessions.

Working in a consultancy-based partnership with Julie Squire, a qualified Lead Psychotherapist, they will support children and young people struggling with trauma or waiting for NHS mental health services.

Supported by funding from Talbot Village Trust, Unbox is a series of early intervention Drawing & Talking therapy sessions that offer interim support for disadvantaged children from eight to 12 years old.

They’ll help tackle NHS waiting lists through support from a qualified practitioner.

The 12 weekly one-hour sessions use drawing and talking as an approach towards therapy, assisting children to process emotional pain and trauma in a calm, friendly and supportive environment.

Cary Lightfoot, Founder of Creative Kids, said: “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a much higher number of anxious children coming through our doors who struggle to manage everyday emotions.

“National lockdowns, food poverty, rising energy bills, wars and environmental issues have played a huge part in children’s mental health, especially those who were already classified as ‘vulnerable’ pre-COVID.

“We’ve listened to the desperate pleas of parents who have told us their stories, shared their frustrations, and asked us for help.

“With a wait time to see a mental health professional of up to two years, we felt we must act now”.

Caroline Cooban, CEO at Talbot Village Trust, said: “In 2020, we supported Creative Kids to expand its headquarters, workshop, and studio, and upgrade its technologies to enhance digital arts-based learning.

“We’ve been proud to support the organisation again this year, where we’ve helped to fund the Unbox programme.

“We believe that quick access to mental health support is vital, and that arts-based therapies such as Drawing & Talking can often be an effective approach in helping children and young people.

Creative Kids was founded in 2008 to help address a gap in access to high quality arts education for disadvantaged children living in Boscombe and BCP.

Beginning as a ‘pop up shop’ in the town and local schools, the organisation soon based itself at the Sovereign Centre, using two retail units as a studio and workshop space.

The Unbox programme runs on a rolling basis with sessions continuing throughout January and February, with a further rollout of 12 weeks after February half term.

Sessions are confidential and do not offer interpretations or diagnosis.

Parents and care givers interested in taking part should contact Cary Lightfoot via email at [email protected].

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