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Talitha's 2022 In Review

"2022 saw us conduct 43 therapeutic workshops with 410 participant engagements! One of Talitha’s biggest years to date. We are so looking forward to 2023 and embracing all that it has in store, from our new exciting partnerships, programmes and taster-sessions, to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May"

As we approach the end of 2022, we find ourselves reflecting on the past few years at Talitha Arts. The last few years have been difficult for so many; the charity sector especially. Throughout the pandemic, our face-to-face work with beneficiaries, partners and participants was sparse and it was a time of genuine frustration and sadness for Talitha. As a charity we weren’t able to do the work that could have helped vulnerable communities mental health and well-being at a time when it was needed most. However, as we look back on 2022, and on all the in-person programmes, taster-sessions and events we’ve been fortunate enough to deliver, we find our hearts warmed by our busiest year to date - working with partners old and new. We feel so grateful that we are now able to run as we once did again, with face-to-face workshops, and to continue to support vulnerable groups through our transformative, therapeutic arts programmes.

Let’s take a look back at 2022 …

We began the year with a 6-week programme with our long-standing partner, The Medaille Trust. Working with vulnerable women at the refuge was a humbling and uplifting experience and a welcomed return to direct delivery of programmes and workshops.

Over the 6 weeks, we got to know the women we worked with and saw their comfortability, confidence and sense of community grow. Through dance, song, movement, and art, the women discovered the power of play and laughter. They experienced how creatively expressing themselves in a safe space, as a part of a group, could offer a sense of hope for the future.

Quotes from some of our Medaille participants:

"Every council in the country should have Talitha in, they can offer so much to women like me"

What have you discovered most through the Talitha workshops? "How to laugh"

Our next endeavour saw us working with Ella’s (a London based organisation working with women who have survived traffiking and sexual exploitation) for our therapeutic-arts taster session. We conducted a nature-based workshop, where the women created a self reflective ‘tree of me’ and explored ideas of what they wish to grow towards and hopes for the future. It was a wonderful introduction to Ella’s for Talitha, and this resulted in a new partnership that has continued to blossom throughout 2022.

Come Spring 2022, our Practitioner training began! We trained 8 new Talitha practitioners to join our team over the course of two intensive weekends. Content included: learning the Talitha approach, trauma informed working, how to build a safe space, how to work in a person-centred way (which is key to Talitha's ethos) and how to build a therapeutic-art session. Their learning was a combination of practical, theoretical and experiential, ending with the trainees conducting a Talitha workshop for one another and the Talitha team. It has been a pleasure working with these women throughout the year on their shadowing programmes.

Summer 2022 was a very busy time for Talitha, seeing us conduct 4 programmes over the unusually hot summer months. We began our summer season with the South Hill Centre - in July we headed to leafy Hemel Hempstead to conduct our taster session with the participants of the social development centre. This creative and expressive session saw us securing a 6 month contract with South Hill, in which we visited the centre each month to deliver a therapeutic arts programme to people who were struggling with employment. It has been an incredible experience for Talitha to deliver our work in this way and to see the change each season brings. Building a trusting relationship over time has been wonderful.

Our Pret-a-Manger programme was next on the summer agenda. We worked with participants from Pret's employment scheme ‘Rising Stars’, in which they support individuals who may have a criminal record or no permanent address to break the cycle of homelessness and make a new start. This saw us working with a group of 10 participants who were, through the Pret programme, in the process of working on their people, teamwork and confidence skills. We came on board for their ‘wellness through art month’. We used a variety of art mediums to create group activities and exercises which concentrated on supporting their skill-building through creative expression and teamwork. The progression we saw from start to finish was outstanding to see. There was such a positive evolution in comfortability, confidence and teamsmanship and we really hope they can take with them into their journeys with future employment.

Next came our women's programme partnering with both Ella’s (who we had worked with earlier in the year) and Hestia (an organisation who support adults and children in a time of crisis). This was an exciting programme for Talitha as, not only was it a therapeutic space for the women to reflect and connect to themselves, but it was also a great opportunity for them to connect to one another. Bringing two partners together fostered a real sense of community and a chance for the participants to connect and expand their circles of support. The programme explored a wide range of group work and activities from dance, movement, and clay work to collaging. Each activity was designed to promote confidence, empowerment and connection. We look forward to continuing our work with both organisations as we move into 2023.

As the leaves started to fall and Autumn came upon us, we returned to Dalemead Care Home. Due to the pandemic, it had been 2 years since our last visit, so we were so pleased to finally be working with them again, face-to-face. The programme was entitled ‘Making Memories’ and was kindly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Spending the 6-week programme with the residents was such a joy for Talitha and our fun, engaging sessions were greatly appreciated and received by Dalemead. Here are a few words from Sarah Withey, The Activities Organiser at Dalemead Care-Home on the programme:

"It was an absolute joy from start to finish. The sessions were jam packed full of fun meaningful activities and the residents were engaged and energised throughout. Whether we are doing activities for movement, singing, reminiscence or craft, everybody felt fully involved. After every Talitha session it is clear to me how much the residents' well-being has benefited from them being part of the afternoon. I would thoroughly recommend Talitha Arts programmes to any care-home or day centre who are offered this wonderful opportunity."

As we approached the colder and darker months of 2022 we continued our monthly work with the South Hill Centre. We continued to see so much progression in our participants from earlier in the summer. The confidence, comfortability and freedom of expression was wonderful to see. Here’s what some of our participants had to say at the end of the programme in November:

“This is a fantastic programme and would really benefit so many people like me. It is truly healing and needed.”

"Attending Talitha Arts was a bit hard to start but Becky and Jenna [Talitha practitioners] are both amazing and helped me to feel more comfortable as the workshops went on! I loved every second"

"It’s lovely to stop and enjoy calmness during the sessions. Thank you"

"Absolutely amazing workshops, I really enjoyed being creative and making different things. It really helped my personal well-being. Thank you so much"

"Becky and Jenna are so lovely. They made each group relaxed, light and fun. I’ve loved every session and how each session seemed to get better and better. Thank you so much"

Winter 2022 also brought with it new pilot sessions and new partnerships. After a successful taster-workshop focused on the theme of connection, we are delighted to have partnered with the Women’s Hub at the Maya Centre, a community based charity offering counselling, group work and holistic services to support women's mental health and well-being. As well as a programme in the diary for 2023 we conducted a one-off December session at their women’s hub exploring themes of light, life and colour. We ended our year on a high with some festive fun with a Christmas special at Dalemead Care Home! Throughout the workshop we decorated baubles and trees, sang, danced and got into the christmas spirit together! It was a truly wonderful way to end what has been a fantastic and growing year of programmes.

2022 saw us conduct 43 therapeutic workshops with 410 participant engagements! One of Talitha’s biggest years to date. We are so looking forward to 2023 and embracing all that it has in store, from our new exciting partnerships, programmes and taster-sessions, to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.

We hope your 2022 has been filled with love and light and fond memories to look back on, too. A very Merry Christmas from the Talitha team and wishing you a very happy New Year!

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