Creative Alternatives is an arts-based social prescribing programme which has been operating in the North West of England since 2006 and under the Alef Trust umbrella since 2015. The Creative Alternatives programme engages adults experiencing stress, depression and anxiety through multi-modal arts activities, working across creative media and weaving in self-care and wellbeing practices. Taking a person-centred approach, we are trying our best to help all stay connected and feel cared for.

During what has been one of the most challenging years for us all, we have moved our face to face programme online where we continue to run our award-winning service. Here we are offering participants the opportunities to engage on our 12-week programme via the online learning platform, Sutra, where we host pre-recorded art project videos, interactive discussion forums, mindfulness podcasts as well as a host of self-care resources. Our live arts sessions are continuing to run weekly too as well as our bi-monthly mindfulness for stress reduction workshops and our new virtual “Moving Forward Coffee meet-up’s” for clients who have completed the programme which have been set up to allow a space for clients to stay connected.

We’re continuing to evolve, building on our online content using feedback from our clients to help us to further develop ways of engaging clients in self-expressive creative activity. Using the principles of the “ 5 ways to wellbeing” our projects and live sessions are tailored to the individuals involved and aim to  respond to what is needed most at this time.  All our weekly videos encourage creative play with materials that people can easily access from home and are based on creative ways of exploring things around the house, minimizing the use of costly art materials. In this way, participants are being encouraged to think outside the box, coming up with innovative ways to use everyday items to build projects!

We have seen how our online programme has encouraged a strong community presence and peer support, really demonstrating how the need for avenues for connection are so vitality important right now.

If you want to hear more, or share what you’re doing online, get in touch!
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