‘An arts centre is a perfect base for us to offer social support for wellbeing’

The team from the Creative Alternatives project in Sefton explain a bit about their work - in pictures

What we do


Creative Alternatives is Sefton’s award-winning arts on prescription service for mental health and wellbeing. We’re one of the earliest projects of our kind to be based in the community rather than a hospital setting, and we’ve been running in Merseyside since 2006. Our new home, The Atkinson arts centre, allows for works to be created – and stored – on a grander scale. This pic is of a group collaborating on a large scale painted floral installation for the Southport Flower Show.

Who we work with


The average age of Creative Alternatives participant is 45, although ages span from 25-74. People are with us for about nine months. Activities include painting, sculpture, poetry, music, pottery, movement, drumming, photography and therapeutic meditation therapies.

Our artists


This is Sheryl Clowes, one of our artists, leading a land art session – and picnic – on nearby Formby beach. Sheryl is one of seven freelance artists who create and run workshops for us. We can work with up to 48 people at a time. There is always a waiting list.

Letting go of difficult memories


We run lots of workshops. In this one people made miniature stage sets inside small painted wooden boxes, in which to let go of difficult memories. The idea behind this autobiographical session was to think creatively and start to depersonalise past problems.

A first – the wellbeing festival


This is a group preparing drop in activities for the first wellbeing festival at Creative Alternative’s base The Atkinson. The festival’s taking place next week (6-10 October). The Atkinson is Sefton’s cultural and wellbeing hub. It has a theatre space, art galleries, library, café, shop and museum.

Outdoor art


This is a stone labyrinth with willow central haven created for the Southport Flower Show. The labyrinth was created due to its connection with aiding meditation and complements two permanent labyrinths made for two of Sefton’s parks by Creative Alternatives artists and members.

Musical activities


Being based in an arts centre is great as the Atkinson attracts programmes and events from other third sector organisations like Age Concern as well as projects by NHS bodies like Merseycare, the local mental health trust. This picture shows the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing For The Brain group, who will also perform at next week’s wellbeing festival.

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