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A BRIEF HISTORY OF HARTLEPOOL ART STUDIO LTD
Hartlepool Art Studio Ltd. was created in early 2000s by local artists as a small drop in centre in a rented out garage/studio on Grange Road, Hartlepool. It was funded by the local council taking adult referrals from mental health services, and as time progressed, so did the project.
In 2005, we bought our premises in Park Road, Hartlepool, employed a resident Wellbeing Practitioner, and opened our doors to a wider audience, people that didn’t need referrals, from all areas of the North East. From then on we have never moved backwards, only developed further.
In 2008, Hartlepool Borough Council cut funding overnight for the project so HASL successfully became a non-profit charity, helping the local community become more aware with issues relating to mental health and striving to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill health as well as helping those suffering to cope with those feelings and integrate back into society in a safe, controlled environment.
Since then we have grown dramatically, gaining more members from within a 25 mile radius. We now have members and volunteers attending from areas such as Guisbrough, Yarm, Middlesbrough and Billingham as well as Hartlepool.
We now cater for all capabilities including physical and learning difficulties as well as mental ill health. As well as art led therapy, we also offer signposting services, support with external issues, and offer opportunities to all to undertake accredited training and options to try something new such as getting involved with community art projects.
Over the course of the past 13 years, Hartlepool Art Studio Ltd has won awards, celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary in 2015, lost resident artists but gained an excellent team of volunteers, some of whom have gained employment, gone back into education or are still with us today.
We have constantly been given the opportunity to receive awards for our service, from Volunteer Celebrations, Health and Wellbeing Awards, Community Awards 2013 and 2014 and been awarded a trophy from Hartlepool Borough Council for our services to the town.
We strive to help every single member that access our services progress in their abilities, be it learning a new skill, gaining an accredited qualification or even achieving some confidence in themselves and their capabilities. Many of our members have moved into volunteering roles, gained employment or reduced the need for certain medications saving the NHS thousands of pounds in the process.
Our team of volunteers over the years has evolved as we have managed to help over 45 of those back into employment or education. We help them gain accredited qualifications and open doors for them to gain experience in a fun working environment. We encourage our artists to get involved with outreach sessions and also exhibit and sell their own artwork, making a name for themselves and gaining some a small amount of income in the process.
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