January is almost over but here at Arts & Minds we’ve been trying to fight the Winter Blues…
We linked up with the redoubtable Helen Hunter Thompson of CGL to support her #30daysofpositivity idea. A brilliant way to brighten the dark days. Find out more here.
One of the many dark days in January was known as “Blue Monday”. So we got a musician to cheer up passengers on the bus. Here’s what we put on our leaflet:
“Today, 16 January 2017, is commonly known as Blue Monday and is often described as “the most depressing day of the year.” For many people, this is when “reality” kicks in after Christmas, the days feel shorter, darker and it can seem like a long time until the lighter summer days. To spread some cheer on this dark day, First Bus Leeds have teamed up with Leeds & York Partnerships Foundation NHS Trust to provide a musical accompaniment to your journey.
However, If you’re living with depression the date is irrelevant. Depression affects people every day, not just on “Blue Monday”. People with depression aren’t just “a bit down” because of the weather or because they’re skint after Christmas. It’s likely that you know someone with a mental health issue. Or you may be affected yourself. Use ‘Blue Monday’ as an excuse to start a conversation about mental health!”
Our musician (“the Captain”) was amazing. Have a look on the BBC Leeds Facebook page.
However, neither of these articles really encapsulate how joyful the experience was. I was accompanying the Captain and saw the reaction up close. We hopped on and off buses, entertained people at bus stops and wandered the streets in search of miserable commuters. The 56 from Headingley was packed
with students trying to record the experience on their phones. Whilst waiting for the 49, the Captain sang ‘Lean On Me’, accompanied by members of the bus queue. Just outside the LGI he serenaded an unborn child whose Mother had just been for a scan. And the Captain was unfazed by any request, even attempting an improvised Elvis/ Grime improvised mash-up. With mixed results. But everywhere we went, there were smiles. Some grumpy faces initially, but the Captain usually won them over. One commuter confided, “you don’t see that sort of thing in Leeds do you? In London, maybe, but not in Leeds.”
So that was Blue Monday.
On Brown Thursday (which is even less of a thing than Blue Monday because I just made it up) we joined Helen and others at the Feel Good Fest. The Corn Exchange was packed with brilliant people, offering ways to help feel better. Loads of treatments (massages, hypnotherapy, reflexology), workshops (from us and Dean), music, yoga, drama, the Human Library…. And it was great. A good turnout of lovely people. Thank Helen for organising it and giving everybody a chance to try something to make them feel a little better on a dark night.
So, some light has been shone in the darkness. Let’s hope we do something similar next January.
We welcome people of all ages, abilities and background providing a fully inclusive craft session. Here at Inkwell we have a warm, friendly and welcoming environment, in fact, everything you need to feel and be inspired! Crafts available to try range from Jewellery Making, Pottery, Sewing, Felting, Card Making, Glass Painting, Batik and much more. Whatever you want to create, we will do our utmost to help.
When: Every Thursday afternoon 2-4pm
Where: Inkwell, 31 Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, LS7 3LW
Costs: Your entrance fee of just £3.50 will buy you all your materials for the session.
We have a wide range of art and craft materials available to use and you get to take home whatever you make on the day.
Contact: Telephone: 0113 3070108 / email: email@example.com
Inkwell run a range of classes that are open for anyone to join which do not require a referral. Classes and workshops in various visual arts and performance arts are available throughout the week.
Tuesday mornings: Art & Design/ Sewing Group
Tuesday evening: Drumming Class
Wednesday evening: Sewing Circle/ Salsa
Thursday evening: Ceramics
Friday morning: Felting
Saturday: Ceramics/ Visual Arts
Where: Inkwell, 31 Potternewton Lane, LS7 3LW
Contact: See Inkwell’s Website for more details
From Cloth Cat, this course is an introduction to playing the ukulele. This is a fun light-hearted course designed to get complete beginners to music playing familiar songs in a variety of styles. No previous experience needed. The tutor is Jess Bowie.
When: Tuesdays, 7 – 8pm
Where: Bramley Lawn Social Centre, Rossefield Lawn, Bramley, Leeds, LS13 3RU
Costs: £60 / free if you receive means tested benefits
We are a charity based in inner-city Leeds that uses music training to help local people improve the quality of their lives. We help people to gain control over their lives and find avenues into employment by providing the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and to develop their musical talent. By doing this, we also provide a basis for empowerment, confidence building and making music contacts that will become ever more useful as their abilities continue to grow towards their future. We offer a wide range of 11 week music courses in subject such as beginners guitar, ukelele, music production, singing, song-writing, and many more. See our website for current courses. No experience is needed, The courses are all practical, with friendly and supportive tutors that will help you learn new skills and have fun!
When: Varies, 11 week courses run on termly basis
Where: Variety of community centres such as Swarthmore; Cardigan Centre; and Bramley Lawn.
Costs: People on means-tested benefit: Free/ Waged: £73 for 11 week course
Mike Jolly: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0113 244 2773 / www.clothcatleeds.org.uk
Due to the nature and environment at Swarthmore people feel safe and welcome. We have a wide selection of classes including pottery, jewellery, watercolours, drama and creative writing.
When? Classes take place morning, afternoon and evening. Please check out our latest brochure online.
Where? Swarthmore Education Centre 2-7 Woodhouse Square Leeds LS3 1AD
Contact: Reception, Swarthmore Education Centre, 2-7 Woodhouse Square, Leeds LS3 1AD, email@example.com, 0113 243 2210
“It’s absolutely fantastic.”
“The course and college has helped my emotional wellbeing”
“Did courses at Swarthmore 20 years ago- great to see that Swarthmore still has its lovely ethos”
We’ve been meeting for workshops and performances since 1994. We are completely survivor run, and provide a safe space where people can explore their creativity through poetry and other creative writing.
We don’t have regular workshops at the moment but please get in touch for more information about future events.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to join our mailing list.
Creative Afternoons is run by Arts & Minds members, for Arts & Minds members. The idea is to get together to do something creative on a Sunday afternoon. A different member runs each session and it could be craft, drawing, painting, photography, weaving… We meet at 1pm in the bar, and at 2pm up on Floor 2 Workshop Room.
2nd Sunday of every month
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ
Telephone: 0113 2623128