TWO Bristol-based art psychotherapists plan to bring a portable wellbeing studio to Bradford on Avon.

Founded by Alex Burr and Ella Bryant, The Portable Wellbeing Studio intends to take art therapy to where there is a need.

The pair are looking for a crowdfunding cash injection of £3,000 to make the space safe, functional and able to move between locations.

Both Alex and Ella are HCPC and British Association of Art Therapists-registered art psychotherapists who met on their MA training at the University of South Wales.

Ella said: “We have funding to deliver a pilot project in two schools in Bradford-on-Avon, offering 1:1 art therapy and arts in health lunch time clubs with children aged 4-16 years.

“We have a pilot project planned for 2019 in two schools, the Christchurch CofE (VC) Primary School and St Laurence Secondary School.

“We will be offering 1:1 art therapy sessions and arts in health lunchtime groups. We will be working as part of the schools and alongside families, promoting mental health within the whole schools.”

“Mental health is becoming more prevalent in children and young people, eight per cent of 5-10-year-olds and 12 per cent of 11-15-year-olds have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

“Emotional wellbeing is important. It affects physical health and the ability to learn and achieve – it impacts on long-term social and economic wellbeing.”

Ms Burr and Ms Bryant, who are both based in Easton, Bristol, have made a crowdfunding video which will be running for four weeks to raise the last bit of cash they need.

Ms Bryant said: “We need this to pay for the electrics, running water, furniture, art materials and legal tow licence so we can move the trailer between locations. This will complete the portable studio build and make it into a professional, safe, and inviting space ready to begin our art therapy work.”

Ms Bryant said: “Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication.

“Through using the art materials and building a therapeutic relationship, art therapy can help to explore difficult feelings with or without words.

“It can help with difficulties such as understanding and regulating emotions, building self-confidence, providing a different perspective on situations, and improving emotional literacy and relationships.”

The inspiration for their project came from first-hand experience of statutory mental health services which are over-subscribed, in uninspiring spaces and rarely provide the level of psychological support a client needs.

Ms Burr said: “We love the idea of reframing mental health in a fresh and innovative way where working on your mental health is deemed a positive thing.

“We want to provide a mental health service that allows people to identify as an artist rather than a patient, in a space that is creative and nurturing.

“Our long-term vision for the project is to park up and provide residencies in different places, such as parks, housing estates, work places, rural areas and homeless shelters. Once the studio is built, overhead costs will be relatively low ensuring that the project is sustainable.

“So far we have secured funding from a local council to deliver the work in the schools. We were also granted £5,000 to build the trailer from a local charity that provides seed funding for projects with a social impact. The schools are also paying a nominal fee to support the project.

“We feel passionate about helping to change the face of mental health. Having a Portable Wellbeing Studio that can go to where the support is needed without having the stigma associated with statutory services, is one small step we can make, that has potential to make big differences to people’s lives.”