Burlesque social enterprise

“Troupe mamma”, or leader, Caroline Adkins suffers from health problems including arthritis and osteoporosis.

She says performing improves her well-being, while other troupe members say it boosts their self-esteem.

The group, Bump N Grind, plans to become a social enterprise, a business that reinvests or donates its profits.

They describe themselves as the Highlands’ first burlesque troupe.

At present the group has five members. They are Caroline, who is known on stage as Evelyn Adore, also Emma MacKenzie aka Candy Kitten, Rowan Drever who performs as Lady Ivy, Cody Ross aka Moonstone Cherry and Rhianna Bain who performs as Miss Rhi Von Bee.

Burlesque is a genre of variety show and features music, song and dance routines.

BBC Scotland’s The Nine caught up with Bump N Grind during one of their rehearsals.

Original article by BBC News

Culture Wellbeing

Turning disused buildings into studios

Twenty-seven-year-olds Josh Field and Ollie Tobin, and Roland Fischer-Vousden, 28, are school friends with a passion for the arts.

In 2014, just before completing their undergraduate degrees in London, they realised that they would struggle to realise their dreams of becoming working creatives, because there was nowhere for them to work.

The creation of large-scale art pieces and music often requires space, industrial tools and the freedom to make a lot of noise.

None of these things are possible at urban residential properties, and studio space is very expensive.

Original article by Mary-Ann Russon – Source BBC News

Photo by Joseph DeFrancisco on Unsplash


Sowing the seeds of personal growth

It was perhaps inevitable that Paul Herrington would one day set up the business that he has. For many years he had parallel careers, working as both a psychiatric nurse, and as a professional garden designer (once winning a medal at the Chelsea Flower Show). When he hung up his nursing jacket for good, it seemed only natural to combine his two skill sets and establish a project that promotes the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

So in 2014 he started Grow Places, a social enterprise based in Cambridge that designs, develops and nurtures gardens in care homes, hospitals and other community projects – with a focus on improving the mental and physical health of the participants.

“There are two layers to it,” says Paul. “You can provide some beautiful gardens for people to enjoy and benefit from, but the benefits are more than doubled if those people are also creating and maintaining the garden.

“For many, it’s about feeling less isolated,” he adds. “The gardening process helps people to engage with others.”

There is a large and ever-increasing body of scientific evidence that attests to the therapeutic benefits of gardening and being outdoors, and Paul often witnesses the effects first-hand.

“For people with dementia, gardens can really help to unlock things. They might be able to say something lucid about a plant, like when it should be pruned, or what memories it evokes. Those kind of mental connections are really powerful.”

Generally working as a “one-man band,” Paul Herrington draws upon a varied network of support if he needs to, links established through both his health service and gardening work. With funding from a range of sources – from hospital budgets to the European Social Fund – he likes to stay local, and only takes on projects that have the potential to enable further involvement for the participants.

“If it goes well, I can step back and they can be up and running with it,” he says. “That’s the most enjoyable part for me. Seeing how the participants prosper, making connections with each other and acquiring new skills. The gardens are just a vehicle for that personal development.”

If you want to know more about Grow Places, get in contact via their website or phone 07988 740456.

By Theo Hooper

Inspired? Check out more Smiley News, start your own project or get matching!

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels


Art Therapy

The idea of receiving psychotherapy in a museum might seem unusual. However, art psychotherapists are increasingly looking towards the rich resources of museums and galleries to aid them in their clinical work.

Art therapy, or art psychotherapy, sees people expressing their feelings and experiences through art, as well as (or instead of) through words. It can be used to help people of all ages, living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions.

NHS art psychotherapists usually work in designated therapy rooms in hospitals or outpatient centres, but for our recent study we wanted to explore how conducting art psychotherapy in a museum could be beneficial to a group with complex mental health difficulties.

Research has found that people “see themselves” in museum objects, and that reflecting on our responses to objects can tell us something about ourselves. For example, an object can evoke powerful emotions, or symbolise an aspect of our current or past experiences. So we wanted to tap into museum objects to help our participants develop greater self-understanding. To our knowledge, this was the first time that museum objects would be used for this kind of art psychotherapy for adults accessing NHS mental health services.

We predicted, based on findings from arts in health and art therapy case studies, that a museum setting could help inspire creativity among group members. There is also evidence that a non-clinical space could help people to feel more connected to each other and their local community, and less “set apart” by their mental health difficulties.

Working for ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, we delivered a programme for seven adults aged 18-25 at two museums in Gloucester over 18 weeks. Each session lasted for 90 minutes and started and finished in a private education room at the museums.

Original article by Alison Coles – Source The Independent

Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

Culture Wellbeing

Brick by brick

David Aguilar has built himself a robotic prosthetic arm using Lego pieces after being born without a right forearm due to a rare genetic condition.

Aguilar, 19, who studies bioengineering at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Spain, is already using his fourth model of the colorful prosthetic and his dream is to design affordable robotic limbs for those who need them.

Original article by Pilar Suárez – Source Reuters

Planet Wellbeing

Plastic boat raises pollution awareness

The dhows, with their swollen triangular veils, are an icon on the Kenyan coast, having crossed these waters of the Indian Ocean for about 2,000 years.

With its characteristic triangular sail, this boat, having embarked on an expedition along the East African coast, has almost everything from traditional dhow.

Ali Skanda is builder of the ‘Flipflopi:’ “We had this dream of doing plastic dhow, as we are doing so much in the world, and we feel it’s our responsibility to make this solution, because we are polluting our environment, many creatures are suffering from this jungle of plastic.”

The Flipflopi was built thanks to plastic waste collected especially on Kenyan beaches.

Source africanews


The sky’s the limit

It’s a building project with towering ambitions—to use all 17 of the UN’s Global Goals as a sustainability blueprint for a 35,000-square-metre eco-village being built on the southern outskirts of Copenhagen.

Amid dire warnings about the need to rapidly rein in carbon dioxide emissions, Danish architects Lendager Group, and project partners Årstiderne Arkitekter, want their 400-home development in Ørestad South to set a new standard for sustainable construction.

“We see the Sustainable Development Goals as a global tool with a holistic approach to the world’s sustainability challenges. A tool and a language that can be understood across sectors and countries,” Lendager says in its project description for the UN17 Village development.

Source UN Environment

Equality Wellbeing

‘I hope Kanye samples it’

It’s 11am on Friday morning and there are some weird and wonderful psychedelic sounds emanating from a small, makeshift music studio in north London. Inside, Patricia Angol is playing the xylophone, Mui Tang is touching a Kaoss Pad – an audio effects unit – and Fathima Maharali is singing into a microphone. When they finish, their session leader, Jack Daley, fiddles on a computer, overlaying each musical section before playing it back. There are smiles and high-fives all round.


Smiles all round!

Smile Together CIC is to open a dental centre designed and adapted for patients with special needs, having secured £1m in investment from Big Issue Invest (BII).

The new site, in Cornwall, will open by the summer.

Resonance, which helps organisations to become investment ready and to raise funding, advised Smile Together on the investment.

Smile Together – formed in 2016, and shortlisted in last year’s UK Social Enterprise Awards – secured the investment from BII in late 2018, in the form of an unsecured eight-year fixed interest loan, with capital repayments not starting until year four.

The investment will finance the refurbishment of a former grammar school, which the community interest company (CIC) has purchased itself, into a purpose-built dental centre designed and adapted for patients with special needs, including mental health conditions and autism. The new site will increase local access to competitively-priced and fully accessible dental services, and will see children for free.


Can local walking groups help solve urban issues?

“This street sign is crooked,” notes Henny Koot, then stoops down to straighten it.

We are in Spoorwijk, a neighbourhood in The Hague. “Spoorwijk is a very special neighbourhood. It’s a green space where children can play safely in the playgrounds, where entrepreneurs from different cultures have set up shop. People care about each other,” explains Koot, who chairs a local community organisation. Spoorwijk may be a caring neighbourhood, but it’s part of Laak, The Hague’s smallest district – as well as one of its poorest and most diverse. The average annual income of its 4,340 residents is €16,300 (£14,225) – about €1,350 (£1,180) a month. In 2017, 67.3% of the inhabitants of Spoorwijk were of non-Dutch background – the majority from Surinam, but also from Turkey and Morocco.