Celebrating the completion of ‘Get Started’

Art Project

Artlink West Yorkshire is celebrating the successful completion of ‘Get Started’, a three year £327,000 Big Lottery Fund Grant, Reaching Communities project located across 13 different groups in Leeds.

Launched in January 2014, Get Started is a partnership project led by Artlink in partnership with Progress Housing Group, Leeds City Council Adult Social Care and Aspire Community Benefit Society.  It delivers exciting, interactive arts projects to 173 adults with learning and physical disabilities, long term mental health conditions or dementia.  

Hayley Mason, Projects Manager, Artlink West Yorkshire said: “We are now coming to the end of Year 3 of this amazing project.  Over the three years we have had numerous smaller celebration events, including a showcase event at Northern Ballet in October 2015 and an Open Day at Artlink in July 2016.  We have produced a set of postcards from the project, a range of printed canvases of the artwork and a selection of animations.  The breadth of work explored has seen participants experiment with large scale painting and drawing, bubble sculpture, light projections and drama to name but a few techniques.”  

Participants of the workshops have enjoyed taking part in these art sessions and support staff have noted significant impacts on people who have never taken part in these types of activities before.  Participants have been able to create metal sculptures and animations, take part in teambuilding activities and games - all of which have helped increase their confidence and meet new people.

Mary and Elaine are two Leeds Independent Living Accommodation (LiLAC) tenants who have been involved in the project from the very beginning and have made many valuable contributions to the group’s work.  The pair took material produced by the group at a creative writing session and gave readings at two events in front of a large audience. 

Mary said: “I felt very nervous before reading in front of all those people but I was very proud afterwards. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to speak like that without the support of everyone at Artlink. I am 100% happy with all the work we’ve done and would like to do it all again.”

It is well documented that learning new skills and being creative really helps promote wellbeing.  This project has involved 13 supported living sites and the results of the evaluation so far show that it has had a really positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing. 

Participants, friends and colleagues all came together on 6th October 2016 for a symposium to mark the completion of Get Started. 

Hayley Mason, Projects Manager, Artlink West Yorkshire said: “What a day it was!  We had an array of speeches from Neil Morris-Roe (Operations Director, Aspire CBS), Annette Stevens (Head of Supported Housing, Progress Housing Group) and Sylvie Fourcin (Director, Artlink West Yorkshire).  We were moved to tears AND laughter with speeches and performances by Get Started participants, as well as creating giant wings for the giant man which was first produced at the Northern Ballet event last October.  These swayed in the breeze outside as he basked in the autumn sunshine.  We listened to a performance from LiLAC members Elaine, Margaret and Mary; this was their third public performance in as many months.  The day flew by as we gathered together in a circle to complete the day with a movement workshop led by artists Bryony Pritchard and Ellie Tillotson, supported by participants Fiona and Carl from Bramley Fulfilling Lives.”

Sylvie Fourcin, Director, Artlink West Yorkshire said: “It was a fantastic day! We are so proud of the work that has been produced throughout this project and the dedication of all involved including the participants.” 

Annette Stevens, Head of Supported Housing at Progress Housing Group said: “This wonderful symposium has shown us first-hand how the project has benefited our tenants and how they have developed their confidence. All participants have built new friendships and learned new skills.  Working with Artlink has been an example of excellent partnership working and we hope to continue to work with them into the future.”

Although this event has marked the completion of Get Started, Artlink West Yorkshire  hope it is merely a pause as they wait eagerly to see if their second stage funding has been successful. 

Get Started is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Grant – Reaching Communities.


Notes to Editors:

Artlink is a charity specialising in the arts and health.  They have been established for over 36 years, working in hospices, hospitals, community centres, schools and residential care homes during this time.  Artlink firmly believe in the power of the arts and its profound impact on those who are experiencing challenges in their lives.  It takes pride in the quality of artistic provision on offer across diverse communities.  Their artists have years of experience of working together with people who have particular needs.  Examples of their most recent work includes, supporting people with dementia, eating disorders and those with acute mental health needs.  This list is by no means exhaustive and Artlink continue to work with respect, integrity and creativity with the younger and older generation alike.


For further information please contact:

Artlink West Yorkshire, 191 Belle Vue Road, Leeds, LS3 1HG

Tel No.  0113 243 1005   info@artlinkwestyorks.org    www.artlinkwestyorks.org