View of Liverpool Town Hall of a day from Castle Street

Rooting for culture

Nearly 30 of Liverpool’s grassroots organisations which aim to highlight the important issue of mental health and wellbeing are being awarded vital grants.

The 27 not-for-profit organisations all applied for the Culture and Wellbeing Grassroots Grants Programme in order to fund imaginative projects which use art and culture to engage local communities on the topic of mental health issues.

Each of the groups were given funding ranging from £2,400 to £5,000 which will go towards a wide variety of different projects, from film and dance to drama and photography. A total of around £120,000 was awarded by the city council’s Art and Cultural Investment Programme in partnership with Liverpool Primary Care Trust.

Some of those benefiting and the projects are:

• Liverpool ADHD Foundation – I Just Want To Be Happy
Working with schools and youth clubs across the city they will engage with young people with ADHD, making t-shirts and choreographing a dance routine.

• Come alive at 55 – Writing about the past to create change for the future
This screenwriting project involves those with a personal experience of mental illness and the stigmas attached to this. A screenplay will be written about the hidden nature of mental illness and a film will be made.

• Merseyside Partners in Policymaking – What’s up Doc
With the aim to reduce the anxiety people experience when they attend a health appointment, drama performances will be delivered reflecting good and bad scenarios when visiting a GP, walk in centre or local hospital.

• People First Merseyside – Voices Never Forget
Adults with learning disabilities will pen a song about the challenges of living with a disability which will be performed at events across the city. A video will also be produced.

• Rotunda ABC – Inspiring wellbeing in the next generation
Aimed at North Liverpool residents, the project will work with young people in the area to develop a documentary around the positive impact of boxing in the community, the heritage of Rotunda ABC and how it addresses cultural integration.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s so important we continue to fund grassroots organisations which have such a diverse and creative approach to bringing culture to the heart of local communities across the city.

“We had a fantastic response when we announced the grants back in August, with more than 100 organisations expressing an interest in securing funding for their project. It goes to show there’s a real appetite to use art to explore difficult and challenging topics.

“The final 27 activities are all extremely thought-provoking and will engage with people of different backgrounds and ages which is key to spreading such important messages about a topic some may normally shy away from engaging with.

“Working in partnership with the PCT means we can tackle key health issues in a unique and accessible way and extend the reach and awareness of the Decade of Health and Wellbeing.”

The overall theme is ‘Wellbeing – Thinking back, looking Forward’, with a particular focus on mental health. All the groups will explore the five themes of the Decade of Health and Wellbeing which are:
• Connect…
• Be active…
• Take notice…
• Keep learning…
• Give…

Gideon Ben-Tovim OBE, Chair of Liverpool PCT and NHS Merseyside said: “We’re delighted that almost 30 grassroots organisations will be benefiting from the Culture and Wellbeing Grassroots Grants Programme this year.

“The input these organisations already make to the arts is invaluable and it’s fantastic that they will also now be able to make their own contributions to improving the health and wellbeing of our city.

“Providing grants to grassroots organisations ensures local communities will benefit from the programme of work, and will provide an opportunity for those, who may not previously have had it, to become involved with the arts.”

Those groups receiving grants are:
Chaturangan, Soap Box Films Limited, The Suitcase Ensemble, Dingle Community Theatre, Crass Routes, West Everton Community Council, Merseyside Polonia, Merseyside Partners In Policy Making, ADHD Foundation, Refugee Action, Deysbrook Village Centre, Liverpool Arabic Centre, People First Merseyside Company ltd, Come Alive At 55, Urban Revolt Media, Mencap Liverpool, One Latin Culture, SOLA ARTS, The Reader Organisation, Copperwood Media CiC, Kaalmo Youth Development ltd, Fazakerley Special Needs, Friends of Everton Park, Bridewell Studios, Taciturn Dance Company, Rotunda ABC and Dot Art.

A celebration of all the work will take place towards the end of the programme in 2013 to highlight the work which has taken place in all the neighbourhoods.

Liverpool Waterfront