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Sharing personal journeys through art - the good times, the bad times and the turning points.

A very special art exhibition is taking place in Middlesbrough this week. The artwork on display has been produced as part of South Tees Changing Futures.
It aims to support the voice of lived experience to make a difference to the way services and organisations work for those experiencing domestic abuse, addiction, contact with the criminal justice system, homelessness and mental health.
The artwork featured in the exhibition reflects a range of individuals and their experiences, created through their preferred creative outlets, as a means to reflect on and share their personal journeys – the good times, the bad times and the turning points.
Those who’ve taken part include men from Holme House Prison as well as VCAS, Restorative Cleveland and Real Me service users.
Becky Childs, Restorative Cleveland Service Manager, said:
“Supporting the men in HMP Holme House to contribute to the ‘Mind Over Matter’ Exhibition has been both inspiring and heart-warming. The commitment and compassion of Jo Carroll (Director of Creative Arts), Governor Aled Edward and Governor Jon Lee, in enabling the inclusion of the men’s art work is testament to the strength of effective partnership working. This, alongside the hard work and vision of Ruth Barnes at MVDA and Navigator North, combined with the support provided by the VCAS and Real Me Projects at Safer Communities, has culminated in an incredibly impactive Art Exhibition. Supporting our communities to become safer, to rehabilitate and reintegrate those who have offended into a law-abiding society, and appreciating creative talent, is a real gift to the local community. This is a story in motion of true rehabilitation and reintegration, right in the heart of Teesside.”
Some of the team from these services visited the exhibition and were blown away by the talent on display.
Sarah James,  VCAS Community Engagement Officer said:
“The exhibition was powerful visually but also is it’s ability to express the emotions and experiences of the creators of each piece.
“The systems and services delivered in our communities must be shaped and developed by those who use them. Art enables people to share their experiences in a way that is personal to them and also encourages others to respond. A inspiring project to be a part of.”
And the Governor of Holme House tells us how important it is to recognise positive contributions to society through initiatives like this:
“The inclusion of artwork by men from Holme House in a community Art Exhibition curated by Navigator North marks a significant achievement for many.
“With 62 individual pieces showcased at The Masham, this event not only celebrates their artistic talent but also highlights the importance of community involvement in facilitating the rehabilitation of individuals transitioning from custody back into society.
“By providing opportunities for recognition based on positive contributions rather than past offences, this initiative demonstrates the transformative power of support and recognition in fostering meaningful reintegration.
“To this end, it is our pleasure to partner with Safer Communities and the Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency, who deliver the lived experience element of the three-year funded, ‘Changing Futures’ programme. Supporting improved outcomes for individuals facing multiple disadvantages, is fostered through the effective coordination of local services, such as that demonstrated in the achievement of the Mind Over Matter Exhibition.”
The exhibition is open until Saturday, you can find out more details here https://www.facebook.com/events/344071115157723/


Thurs 1st to Sat 3rd Feb, open 11am-4pm
Navigator North at The Masham, 27 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 1RL

Changing Futures is a 3-year £64m programme funded by Central Government’s Shared Outcomes Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund. It is being delivered across South Tees by the Local Authorities along with commissioned services including Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency. The aim of the programme is to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable adults, ensuring they get the support they need by better co-ordinating public and voluntary services and to provide joined-up support to those who are experiencing multiple disadvantages. 


Sharing personal journeys – the good times, the bad times and the turning points.

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