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$300k for health initiative

A ground-breaking regional initiative that promotes creativity to boost mental and physical health has been given a major cash injection by the government.

Fareham Creative Space in Featherston has been awarded $300,000 over three years by Manatu Taonga/The Ministry for Culture and Heritage as part of its covid recovery programme.

The funding is specifically designed to support outreach programmes in the community, and the organisation will use the money to fund part-time arts tutors and creative workshops at the facility on the outskirts of Featherston.

Maureen Hyett and Jenny Wheeler own Fareham House, which hosts the Creative Space’s classroom-style premises on the park-like grounds adjacent to the historic homestead.

“We had the facility and we always wanted to grow the space, but we haven’t had the wherewithal,” Hyett said.

“Mental health has deteriorated, particularly around covid, and being creative supports mental health.”

Support staff are already available onsite, and the funding has been used to increase the creative opportunities on offer to the Featherston community.

Two coordinators are now available to run workshops and classes and share their expertise with others.

Initially focussed on those facing mental health challenges, now all are welcome to attend.

Fareham Creative Space Trust chair Claire Bleakley said the grant was intended to support people in the Featherston community and surrounding area who feel isolated or who face health challenges, either mental or physical.

“Anyone can use the facility. The workshops include people with a range of disabilities,” she said.

“Art can be beneficial for everyone, and this is an opportunity for artists to mentor people and help them overcome barriers of disability and isolation.”

The funding has also helped the artists, and Featherston itself.

“We have been so excited that, as the space has developed, artists have used it for their own creativity and also to tutor others,” Bleakley said.

“I feel grateful that Manatu Taonga has recognised Featherston is a place to be creative. We have been able to develop a space which fulfils these needs of our community.”

Fareham Creative Space runs an open studio onsite at the Underhill Rd facility every Tuesday and Friday between 10 am and 3 pm. Workshops are held on a variety of subjects, including painting, life drawing and felting.

More information is at farehamcreativespace.nz

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