The Bluerooms Project

St Helens and The Bluerooms have come together, funded by the arts council England, to explore the potential of service users using their Direct Payments as a way to access high quality art workshops. The people we identified were the Learning Disability group based mainly within the Stephenson centre in Rainhill. The Team Manager of the section is highly enthused by the project and following a set of meetings with the relative team managers, a group of service users, within Learning Disabilities, were chosen and sessions now run from November through to February 2014. Facilitated by the highly skilled Becky Waite the group have enthusiastically embraced the project.

Becky writes:

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring the recent exhibition at the Bluecoat, ‘3AM: Wonder, Paranoia and the Restless Night’. The group took the train into Liverpool to visit the Bluecoat and met one of our long standing Blue Room members Veronica, who showed them around the gallery. The group responded to the artworks with curiosity and enthusiasm, making some fantastic sketches in their personal sketchbooks which they shared with each other through discussions.

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Over the next few weeks we will create our own pieces inspired by the ideas and techniques in the exhibition.

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So far we have worked as a team to create a huge, glowing ‘starry night’ drawing and have raced handmade spinning tops that looked like UFOs, all inspired by Sandra Cinto’s installation ‘Nights of Hope’.

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The new Blue Room members are getting to know each other as they get involved with the activities and are starting to grow in confidence both socially and creatively.

Huyton U3A Ladies Embrace The Dream Culture Of St Helens

The ladies from the University of the 3rd age contacted St Helens Cultural Coordinator, Gary, to find out about St Helens biggest cultural icon, The Dream sculpture by Jaume Plensa.

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Gary took the ladies on a 2 hour fact finding tour of the old Sutton Manor Colliery site culminating in seeing Dream. The ladies were fascinated to hear about the history of the mine and the community that was built around it, the year long strike and finally its closure in 1991.

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Upon reaching the summit the ladies were told about how the site was leased to the forestry commission, the channel 4 tv programme ‘big art’ and finally how a group of former miners worked with a world famous artist to create St Helens most famous landmark. Jeanette K emailed Gary to say :

‘ Dear Gary, Just a quick thank you for the great tour you took us on yesterday up to the Dream.  We were so impressed with the Dream and we can now look at it with new eyes as we pass by on the motorway!!  Its encouraged us to visit more public sculpture in the future, We thank you immensely for giving us your time, passion and enthusiasm.

PSD Referral Group Get In The Cultural Christmas Creative

The Martin Avenue PSD Referral Group are continuing their creative Christmas with designs and products made within the workshops. Last week saw the group create, with volunteer artist Paula, Christmas runners. This skill involved sowing and creating shapes with cotton and felt.

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Paula had a CD with Christmas hits playing in the background thus creating a constructive well-being atmosphere, conducive to some excellent produce.

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Lively Workshops? Then It Must Be ‘Other Ways Of Being’

Workshops continue for the Geese commission of ‘Other Ways Of Being’ soon to be showcased on the 12th of December in the Central Library.

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Sessions are lively, invigorating and funny with all participants being candid about their personal history of addiction. Workshops, led by Adrian, have been a wonderful exercise on how to enjoy and be enlightened. 

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One of the participants Sarah, e mailed me to tell me how much she had enjoyed the sessions. Here it is:

‘I decided in October that I would start to say “yes” to things i would usually say “no” to (within reason).  This arose after a recent holiday when a friend suggested to me that “practising opposites” if you will, is good for the soul.  So, when my friend suggested I join a drama group I said yes!  Albeit with deep deep reservations.  

Anyone who knows me knows that this is the LAST thing I would ever do and most of my friends and family actually laughed out loud and I laughed too but thought “what have I got to lose”, sod it, I’m going anyway, I’ll just make it clear that I won’t perform (stage fright & we’re not all cut out for it anyway!). When I told the group about this, I was told that this was fine, there’s more to it than performing & I was reassured.

After my initial reservations, (not just reservations; cynicism, fear etc) this has been a fantastic time.

I have absolutely loved every session, & it has become THE highlight of my week.  I cannot advocate this enough, I look forward to each & every session & now that we’re getting nearer to the event I’m looking forward to more sessions each week.  Can’t say I’m not nervous, however, it’s all good!

‘Thank you to all involved, particularly to Adrian, he is encouraging yet challenging (in a good way).

Happy Days

Sarah J

Dementia Karaoke Continues To Thrive

The new ‘Reminiscence Karaoke’ took place at the Mansion House St Helens on Wednesday the 27th Of November.

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Fun and well-being was the order of the day as top class acts belted out songs by Dean Martin, Tom Jones, The Beatles, and Jim Reeves just to name a few.

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We have found out from these sessions that the service users and attendees rather than getting up singing they would sooner be entertained and dance. Asking Ruth (from the Kershaw Centre) why she dint want to sing she told the Cultural Coordinator that ‘Ay love, this brings back the days of when we used to go t’ thowd clubs in Newton and we used to have our own seat there. It wasn’t our seat, but way betided anyone who sat in it before us, we used to say ‘ we sit here every week ! tha only comes in here every blue moon !…. I don’t want to sing, I want to listen and enjoy it by people who can do it a lot better than me. Plus, I like the bingo in the middle.’

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This doesn’t apply to everyone though. As above Brian, a first time attendee from Stephenson who belted out songs from Dion and Elvis Presley. ‘My first time, he said, but definitely not my last.’

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(A Packed House Again)