craftrotherhamA craft group has helped to boost the confidence and self-esteem of a group of people experiencing mental ill health, to the extent that they recently held their own craft fayre recently.

Over the past three months the group, which is based at Swinton Health Centre, have tried their hand at a variety of craft activities, including knitting, bunting-making, ceramic painting and card making, while also receiving therapy from NHS professionals.

The group was set up by staff from the Intensive Community Therapies Service, which is run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), for service users who found accessing therapies in a traditional setting difficult to deal with.

RDaSH social worker, Donna Jalam, said: “Our aim was to develop and promote positive mental health and wellbeing, incorporating therapy within a comfortable and relaxed environment.

“Some group members hadn’t felt able to go out in public for several years, and, although low in mood, anxious and sometimes fearful of talking to other people they have shown great progress towards mental health recovery.”

Developing confidence & self-esteem
The weekly crafting sessions fostered positive and supportive relationships between group members and saw them developing their confidence and self-esteem to such an extent that they held their first craft fayre at Swinton Health Centre earlier this month.

Everybody made their own products – within the group and at home – which they then sold from stalls, demonstrating the positive impact the crafting sessions have had on their social and communication skills.

RDaSH occupational therapist, Sarah White, said: “We’ve had great feedback from individuals that they feel happier and calmer, and say their lives now feel like they have a purpose.

“One lady commented she’d done things she hadn’t been able to do for over two years – so we’re delighted to have made such an impact. The group allowed service users to challenge themselves and take the first steps towards their recovery and begin to value themselves as positive members of the community.”

Now members of the group are moving onto the next stage of their recovery and are confident enough to join community-based craft groups, the service is preparing to set up a new group during September.