Belfast Telegraph

Making their way, head first into art

by Michael Bashford

Brain injury survivors in North Down are benefiting from drama, photography and craft workshops thanks to support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s small grant’s programme.

A grant of over £6,500 was awarded to Headway in March 2010, a charity based in Holywood, which provides support for acquired brain injury survivors and their families after release from hospital. So far 60 people have taken part in a series of new art workshops designed to improve emotional health and social skills by promoting creativity.

Fiona McCabe, director of Headway, said: “We are delighted that the Arts Council has enabled us to introduce art and drama to some of our members. For most of them this is the first time that they have had the opportunity to engage in an arts project and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

“At Headway we aim to improve the quality of life for survivors of brain injury and introducing the arts is a fantastic vehicle for self expression.”

Launched in January 2009, the Arts Council has so far distributed over £600,000 to organisations through its Small Grants Programme, supporting arts projects in communities across Northern Ireland. Community groups, theatre companies, youth groups, traditional music projects and disability arts organisations are just some of those to receive awards from the scheme.

Edel Murphy of the Arts Council: “Research has shown that people who engage in arts experience benefits, like increased self confidence, better concentration and improved decision making.

“Headway is delivering a programme that clearly demonstrates the positive impact that arts can have on health.”

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