Creative Therapies Fund

Mind founded the Creative Therapies Fund in 2012, with professional artist and Mind Ambassador Stuart Semple. The Fund provides grants to local Minds to provide opportunities for individuals and communities across England and Wales to engage with the arts in a way that helps them to address some of the mental health challenges they are facing. So far it has supported around 1300 people and has funded 28 projects.

Creative-based approaches such as Art Therapy, creative writing, visual art, dance/movement therapy and film-making help build confidence and resilience within a supportive group setting. Some people with mental health problems have told us that they struggle to put their experiences and emotions into words, but being creative within a therapeutic environment has been a life-changing experience for them.

The Creative Therapies Fund is just one of the programmes delivered by the Local Mind Grants Fund and distributed via our local Minds network. Each one of our local Minds across England and Wales can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to trial or develop creative programmes in their local Mind. Find out more about our local Minds here. 

The Inkwell Project, Leeds Mind


It’s thanks to Inkwell that I will be starting Art School in September, something which I would not have had the confidence to do before.

The Inkwell project, run by Leeds Mind, is a safe and creative space for artists and people experiencing mental health problems. The project runs a range of art classes and activities for the local community, and for people who use mental health services and their families. Their mission is to help people develop creative skills, regardless of their background or ability, to facilitate wellbeing. When the Inkwell Project first received funding from the Creative Therapies Fund in 2013, it was to build twelve additional art studios so that some of the earliest graduates from the project could continue creating art in a quiet and creative space while they journeyed towards recovery.

The Inkwell Project received further funding from the Creative Therapies Fund in 2014, by which time they were providing a wide range of creative programmes for over 400 people. This grant was to provide a year-long mentoring programme for 18 artists with mental health difficulties, led by four professional artist mentors. The mentors had training in mental health and their expertise and guidance allowed the participating artists to perfect their style, and gave them valuable experience in marketing their work and connecting to the local community.

The Inkwell project is now a thriving community arts hub, with a vibrant social calendar including a Saturday Café, quarterly arts and crafts fairs, and cinema events. Leeds Mind takes a commission on the art sales, ensuring the Inkwell project has a reliable funding stream.

Stuart Semple

Stuart Semple

Stuart Semple, one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists and Mind Ambassador, is recently organised an online art auction with Paddle8 auction house to raise funds for Mind’s Creative Therapies Fund. Following a traumatic near-death experience in his teens, Stuart experienced severe anxiety and an eating disorder. His experience of the therapeutic power of creating art led him to set up the Creative Therapies Fund, which allows local Minds to provide creative therapies to people with mental health problems. Funds raised from the Paddle8 auction will allow us to continue this important work in 2018.

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