Accessible Art for Disabled People in Beeston and Surrounding Areas

Had to give up work due to ill health or disability?
Interested in art?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to the questions above, then this group could be for you. We are an accessible art group for disabled people who have had to give up work. We’re based in Beeston, Nottingham but, with easy access by tram or bus, we invite people from in and around the Nottingham area. We meet on Wednesday afternoons during school term time from 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm at the Oasis Centre on Union Street. Facilities include level access and disabled toilets. The group provides professional art tuition, group art sessions and social events. Fees are set at an affordable £20 per half term which also covers many art materials and resources. No prior experience is necessary.

New members are most welcome.

There are opportunities to learn about and experience working with a range of media, as well as time to explore and develop your own particular areas of interest. Group members have access to a range of materials and are also encouraged to begin to develop their own resources in their areas of interest. In this way, we are able to keep costs down.

At the end of each session, there is an opportunity to view and discuss the work produced during the session. Members enjoy this activity for the support and positivity it generates. We also aim to display our work at venues in and around Nottingham, a few times a year.

Below is a testimony about what the group means to one of our members

A Huge Change.

I was feeling incredibly down. My colleagues had gone back to work, I worked in Reception as a teacher – a job I absolutely loved and had worked hard to get. I had a few troubles with my eyes – due to a childhood illness, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which started to occur but were quickly resolved at the hospital. Suddenly the treatments became more intense and painful and the consultants a lot less cheery. I was off sick for six months as I couldn’t see the children well enough, and then I was told I would need a stem cell operation or I would go blind The process of breaking down my immune system started and then I had an adverse reaction to the drugs, so I had to stop and the cells started growing back across my cornea and we were back to square 1.

I now have 25% vision overall, and it is mostly blurry and that is on a good day! I am photo phobic and due to scar- tissue I can only look down and my eyes feel like I have sand in them all the time. I am on a huge amount of medication and take eye drops sometimes every 10 minutes.

I found myself suddenly (in the space of a year) in the position of having no job, no means of transport, little social life,(friends often avoid someone going through a traumatic time as they don’t really know what to say) limited vision, the realisation that I was disabled and little hope as to a cure and (excuse the pun) I couldn’t see the way forward.

I saw a leaflet for New Beginnings and phoned the number on the leaflet. I spoke to Caroline. She instantly recognised where I was emotionally and psychologically and invited me to join the group. I was not really sure how I was going to manage, I could only see downwards and light was a problem so contrast was an issue, but I loved art and enjoyed a year at art college when I was 18 and perhaps having blurry vision and a rather different sense of colour would be OK and anyway I was there to make friends not to paint a masterpiece!
Since joining the group I’ve not looked back. Often `Art Club’ is the most purposeful I feel all week. The tutors and volunteers are incredibly professional, encouraging and supportive and they make adjustments for all of us and I like the fact that they hold us all to a high standard. I have learned a variety of techniques using watercolours, acrylic, Chinese brush painting and I have even started to work on some of my own projects at home.
On a Wednesday I walk into that art room and I leave my disability at the door. I am here to learn among friends, all of whom have faced a trauma and are bravely painting their way into a new direction, I have regained some confidence, had some fun, learned new things and meeting some fantastic and wonderful people.

Thank you – New Beginnings – you are a life saver.

Lydia