I'm Kirsty Rose Parker and I'd like to tell you my story.

Four years ago I wasn't in a happy place. I was a single mum with a great boyfriend, fabulous friends and a challenging job. I was working long hours, some nights and most weekends and I wasn't spending enough time with my son. I wasn't a success at work and I just felt generally tired, stressed, irritable and sad. I couldn't see the good in my life.

I turned 30 and it was a wake up call for me. I changed jobs (thanks for supporting me to do that, Pendle Leisure Trust) and started to run the Arts on Prescription project, which aims to make people feel better by encouraging creativity. I applied the things I learnt to myself and it worked. Instead of feeling sad, I wrote a gratitude journal every day to celebrate all the small things and they grew into big things. I made things. I made life better. That's our tag line by the way. Make Stuff. Make Friends. Make Life Better.

Most days now I feel brilliant. I moved in with the great boyfriend, into a wonderful house with a garden and was no longer a single mum, in fact I gained a stepson. The fabulous friends always remained fabulous. The great boyfriend became great husband this year. I still make things all the time. I learned to crochet last year and this year began to keep a creative visual journal. I'm a beginner gardener and I love it.

Arts on Prescription has helped over 1200 people since I took over and I know there are many more people who could benefit so I started this blog, to help people to do things which will make them feel happier and more cheerful. The project has grown so much that I needed an assistant and the lovely Carmela joined the team last year.

My job isn't just to run Arts on Prescription anymore, I also run a community art gallery, art and vintage markets twice a year and attend art exhibitions and events. I'd like to share some of these too as they can be very inspiring. I'm always planning new projects too and will share those as and when they come along.

Finally just a few answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.

Where are you based?

Pendle in the North of England. It's in Lancashire, about one hour away from Leeds and the same from Manchester and is the home of Pendle Hill, where the Pendle Witches were from and also where the Quaker movement was first imagined.

Our courses run across Pendle, Burnley and the Ribble Valley. Anyone who can physically get to a course is welcome to attend. If you can't we hope you can participate in our community through this blog.

Who teaches the courses?

All of our courses are run by professional artists, who are experts in their own field but who also have a passion for helping others and understand how people who are feeling a bit fragile need to work at their own pace in a friendly and relaxed environment. There is no right or wrong in our classes.

Why write a blog?

We are doing some great work and really making a difference to people's lives. We should try and reach as many people as we can. The aim of this blog is to help others cheer up using the arts, both personally and professionally. Simple as that.

How do you know it works?

We use simple questionnaires at the beginning and end of every course and that shows us if people are feeling better. They are. We have also been independently assessed by Liverpool John Moore's University and found to have a 100% impact on peoples confidence in themselves.

How come the courses are free?

Pendle Leisure Trust is a charity and we receive funding to put on these courses. Our current funders are Target Wellbeing and Lancashire County Council. We welcome donations and are always looking for ways to be more sustainable financially.

Anyone wanting more information please do contact us.

1 comment: