The Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF) is providing an art therapy service, free of charge, for cancer patients in Downpatrick and the surrounding area.
Starting on 14th May – 25th June, the art therapy group will meet every Monday in theDowneHospital from 2pm – 3.30pm.
Joanne Robinson, Art Therpist, UCF, who will be facilitating the group said, “It’s great to be bringing our art therapy service to Downpatrick for the first time. You do not need to be artistic or have any experience in art to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. Art therapy can help people communicate anxiety or stress. In my experience many participants find the creative process relaxing and they can unwind while chatting to others who are in a similar situation.
“We know that cancer affects everyone differently. It can make people feel that they have lost control; increase feelings of isolation and it can often reduce a person’s self-esteem. However research has shown that creating art can have a positive impact - improving a patient’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. For many cancer patients this can result in a better understanding of their illness and coming to terms with the disease and the future.
“I did my degree in fashion and textiles, and after I graduated I worked inParisfor a number of years. When I came back home I was an ‘Artist in Residence’ at Corrymeela, a peace and reconciliation community in Ballycastle. I also began volunteering with an Art Therapist at the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI), who worked with convicted offenders, using art therapy to help reduce levels of reoffending. My supervisor at the PBNI encouraged me do a Masters in Art Therapy at Queen’s University. I absolutely loved the course and got so much out of it. I knew this was the right path for me.
“Luckily not long after I was offered the position of Art Therapist at the Ulster Cancer Foundation. I had done some work with cancer patients in the past and wanted to specialise in this area. At the time UCF just offered art therapy to cancer patients in the greaterBelfastarea. During my four years here I have been able to extend the service throughoutNorthern Ireland, giving many more people the opportunity to benefit from art therapy.
“It is such a privilege to be with people and be able to help them when they are feeling their most vulnerable. It is humbling to witness how their art progresses and empowers them. I would encourage cancer patients in the area to join us – you could be surprised by the results.”
UCF’s Art Therapy sessions are entirely confidential and take place in a safe and caring environment. All materials are provided, free of charge, and participants can use a variety of mediums such as paints, pastels, pencils or clay.
Cancer patients are required to pre-book, as there are a limited number of places available. To book please contact Joanne Robinsonat UCF on 028 9066 3281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org