A Weaver Vale customer is helping women across Winsford boost their confidence through art.
Felicia Woodhouse, a Mindfulness Lecturer at Warrington and Vale Royal College, has been inspiring people across Cheshire with her ‘Confidence Through Art’ sessions.
Felicia is a big advocate of these sessions - having gone through similar classes as part of the New Leaf programme – which led to her landing her job with the college.
Felicia is using her experience to help others, in sessions like this one at GGO Community Bungalow in Winsford.
“These sessions are a chance for these ladies to have some ‘me-time’ – it’s an opportunity for them to slow down and do something creative,” she said.
“We have mums and carers who come along. These women have a lot of responsibilities and people who rely on them – sometimes you forget about looking after yourself and lose who you are. You can forget about what is important to you.
“It’s a chance for people to have some down time – they have a brew made for them for a change and they can get creative. Some people are making vision boards, others are doing scrapbooks and colouring in. We also have mindfulness magazines – this is all very much about ‘me time’ for these people.”
The links between art and mindfulness are well documented. Almost 50,000 people took part in the BBC Arts Great British Creativity Test, that showed being creative can help avoid stress, free up mind space and improve self-development, which helps build self-esteem.
The findings also said there are emotional benefits from taking part in even a single session of creativity.
Felicia added: “The activities we are doing help people their stress levels and tackle anxiety.
“I have noticed a big difference. People have been able to express themselves in ways they could only dream of before coming to these sessions. It’s a really tight-knit community – it has taken me a few weeks to build up that trust where everyone feels comfortable.
“I’ve come across people who have been paralysed by fear at their first session. Now they have gone on to find their dream jobs. I am living proof of that.”
The sessions have brought together women from all walks of life, with stories to tell. Some are full-time carers enjoying a rare bit of respite. Another scrapbook details one woman’s journey to get her children back after they were taken into care. Everyone feels comfortable here – sharing the highs and lows in their lives.
One person who is benefitting from the course is busy mum-of-three Sara.
She said: “My kids need a lot of attention, so it is really hard to find the time to relax at home. I am constantly on the go, so it is nice to come here to have a brew and chat with people.
“I can be me here. I have enjoyed all the activities and getting to know the other ladies. Everyone gets along, we have a really good mix of people from all walks of life.”