As a volunteer artist at Manchester Mind, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some incredible people and was so proud to co-host lunchtime café sessions at the charity, where diners could join me to express themselves through art.
I believe in art as a form of mindfulness, it’s really helped me in recent times.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety around four years ago, and it wasn’t until I found the comfort of Manchester Mind that I could talk about my feelings and feel I was listened to.
I was encouraged to start the lunchtime sessions and immediately saw the benefit of art for wellbeing, and the brilliant work of the Manchester Mind café team, especially their Food for All project “Pay What You Can” free / donation lunch days.
At the start of the pandemic in March, Manchester Mind had to temporarily close their community cafés, which would leave hundreds of vulnerable people with limited access to fresh food and weekly social support.
The tools and routines café customers had relied on to manage their wellbeing would be removed and we feared good habits of self-care built up over time, including eating well and socialising, would dissolve overnight…
Recognising that poor mental health, loneliness and lack of access to healthy food are intertwined, within days of lockdown Food for All and Manchester Mind’s catering social enterprise, Good Mood Food, joined forces to respond to the crisis.
They started to prepare, cook and deliver exceptionally high quality, healthy and nutritionally balanced meals for young people and vulnerable adults across the city.
So far, Manchester Mind have produced over 16,000 meals, but without the income from Good Mood Food, the charity decided to launched an donation appeal to keep this vital service running.
- £3 will buy 2kg of lentils for 30 portions of Dhal
- £5 will supply enough pasta to make 50 meals
- £10 will deliver 2 fresh fruit and veg boxes
- £20 will provide 2 family bags of fruit, veg, pasta, rice and condiments
- £50 will purchase 1,250 food containers
- £100 will provide 10 boxes of emergency provisions
- £250 will ensure they have ongoing stock of PPE to prepare and deliver food safely
- £500 will fuel and maintain 3 delivery vehicles
Feeling inspired to get involved, I decided to design a special charity colouring page, which I will happily send to every person who donates to my Just Giving page, so you can enjoy mindfulness activities at home.
When it came to the design, I focused on nature, as during lockdown nature has been providing me with peace, comfort and education.
My new hobby is growing plants from seed, which has been very rewarding and given me something to look forward to every morning, as I rush to check on how my seedlings are doing!
I’m sure many of you have also been watching Springwatch, which focuses on mental health this year – teaching us how to use nature as a powerful tool for healing.
My design combines a mixture of indoor/outdoor plants which I find equally beautiful – the perfect fit for the charity colouring design.
So, if you are able to donate just £3-£5 to my online donation page before 30th June (making sure to include your full name and email address) I’ll be delighted to share the nature mandala design, specifically created for Manchester Mind’s Emergency Food Appeal.
The design will be sent by email to donors on 1st July, and of course, I’d love to see your creations too!
Thank you for your kind support, it really does means so much to me and everyone at Manchester Mind, who’re still there for the local community during these challenging times.
And remember, if you live in the city and are struggling with your mental health, please visit http://www.manchestermind.org and reach out for support.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.
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