Mental health Charity START in Salford is running a new creative arts scheme in primary schools across the area.

The scheme involves woodworking and a comic book project called Captain Confidence which helps children explore mental health and physical resilience.

June Wilcock, delivery manager at STARTin Salford, said: “We are working with a few schools on a particular project based on an animated character which involves artists going into schools and delivering fun and creative workshops”.

“The particular project is on an animated character – Captain Confidence – which is about helping children build their confidence and self-esteem”.

The scheme is a partnership between START and Salford Red Devils Foundation – and has received lots of positive feedback by primary schools across the area.

START in Salford say that arts and crafts provide a significant boost to mental wellbeing.

In 2017, a report by the Guardian announced that that the arts can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety by more than 70%.

Also, evidence suggests that 69% of people feel more socially included when they are being creative.

June said: “A lot of people coming to our workshops suffer from depression and anxiety”

She added: “Being creative helps to focus and relax the mind on something that is enjoyable”.

June on how being creative can help improve mental health and well-being:

In 2018, a BBC survey involving 1200 schools revealed that 90% of secondary schools in the UK were cutting back on lesson time for creative arts to make more room for the core academic subjects.

Also in 2016, it was reported that more than £56 million of arts funding had been cut by local councils in England since 2009.

June said: “It’s a shame that they don’t prioritise it [creative subjects] as much as science and maths because school should be a very rounded experience that will help you to progress as an adult.”

START in Salford say they are looking to expand the project this year to more schools across Manchester and Salford.

June said: “We are hoping that other areas in the North West want to get involved in some way or do something similar in their area”.

For more information on START, check out their offical website to get involved.

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