Funding campaign to pay for mural for mental health unit

PUBLISHED: 08:33 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 20 June 2019

Kate Simmonds with artist Martin D'Arcy, in front of the fence they are hoping to paint.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Kate Simmonds with artist Martin D'Arcy, in front of the fence they are hoping to paint. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

An occupational therapist from Weston's Long Fox Unit is hoping to raise £3,000 to paint a mural on the fence outside the ward.

Kate Simmonds with artist Martin D'Arcy.
  Picture: MARK ATHERTONKate Simmonds with artist Martin D'Arcy. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Kate Simmonds works on Juniper Ward - an acute mental health ward - for people have been detained for their own safety or because they are a risk to others.

The ward has an outside area, which is used by patients, and Kate wants to brighten it up to make it a more positive space.

She said: "People are here for detention and assessment so it can be quite distressing.

"The garden on the ward is surrounded by a huge overbearing fence which dominates the main green space patients have access to.

Kate Simmonds with artist Martin D'Arcy.
They are organising for a mural to be painted on the fence outside the Long Fox Unit.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONKate Simmonds with artist Martin D'Arcy. They are organising for a mural to be painted on the fence outside the Long Fox Unit. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

"The fence is large for safety reasons though this adds to the sense people are detained and cut off from the outside world.

"Many of the patients that have been admitted here have complained about it and asked if a mural could be painted.

"I've decided to raise money to commission a mural on the fence to improve the environment and have a more positive space.

"By creating an outdoor space that is beautiful, colourful and interesting we aim to improve the sensory, visual and therapeutic environment for patients, visitors and staff.

"We hope this is really going to make a difference."

There is little money in the service's budget for creative projects, so Kate has launched a crowdfunding campaign to try to raise the cash.

Artist Martin D'Arcy has agreed to create a bespoke, hand-painted mural on the fence.

Kate added: "Martin is a well-known local artist that has been painting murals for 30 years.

"He has completed many pieces around the South West and has known people who have spent time on Juniper Ward as an inpatient and therefore understands the impact the ward environment can have on someone's recovery.

"People from all walks of life are admitted to this ward for a wide variety of reasons and many of their friends, family and carers ask us how they can give something back as a thank you."

Martin has drawn a sketch of the mural.

He expects the mural will take around 10 days to complete.

Kate has managed to raise more than £800 towards the art project so far.

The Long Fox Unit is situated within the grounds of Weston General Hospital.

You can donate money to the campaign at www.gofundme.com/improving-our-theraputic-environment

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