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Inkwell, our creative arts and wellbeing service, is expanding its offering into more community venues, in a bid to promote mental wellbeing more broadly in and around the city.

The service had to quickly adapt when the first lockdown hit, in order to continue supporting the community, having previously delivered all services face-to-face from the former Shoulder of Mutton pub on Potternewton Lane.

Starting with online sessions via Zoom, and later with workshops at more locations in the community, the service has tripled the amount of people they work with during the pandemic.

Anna Ridley, Community Arts Co-ordinator for Leeds Mind, said: “We’re so proud to be able to help more people with their wellbeing through creativity, especially at a time when support has been more important than ever.

“We’ve had so much positive feedback already from people enjoying getting back to being creative in face-to-face groups, and in particular about our new locations, including New Wortley Community Centre, Harewood House, Woodhouse Community Centre and more.”

Given the great success and feedback for its work out in the community, we have made the decision to move all Inkwell delivery into the community, meaning we have not renewed the lease on the premises on Potternewton Lane.

This will allow the small team to continue to deliver creative sessions and workshops at community locations, engaging new audiences and reaching even more people throughout the city. The premises on Potternewton Lane will continue to deliver existing classes until the end of May 2022.

Commenting on the development, Helen Kemp, Chief Executive of Leeds Mind, said: “Inkwell Arts will continue to grow as a community-based service, visiting community hubs across Leeds to deliver much-needed mental health support for the whole population. This will ensure our support is accessible for all and avoids the extensive waiting lists that can be seen for so many other mental health services in Leeds.

“Having secured funding from Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, our colleagues currently delivering programmes will continue to do so.

“While a few people may be disappointed about these changes, we believe that Inkwell is not just a building or place. It’s the people that access the service, the volunteers that help us deliver and the idea that creativity is for everyone. We hope that by switching to a more mobile format, we are able to spread the positive impact of creativity even more broadly in and around our city. We’re really looking forward to expanding on all the great work the team has delivered throughout the pandemic.”

For more information on Inkwell, and to learn about upcoming creative arts sessions, please visit www.leedsmind.org.uk/inkwell, email inkwell@leedsmind.org.uk or call 0113 307 0108

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