Start Creative

A project that uses creativity to improve wellbeing, raise confidence and build self-esteem of individuals experiencing mental health difficulties or social exclusion.

Leave no-one behind

Loneliness, social isolation and the mental health issues that follow are endemic in Britain. Our growing reliance on technology means that although we are more connected than ever before, it is easier for vulnerable people in our communities to get left on the sidelines, hidden from view, cut-off and alone.

Start in Salford is on a mission to change this, starting with their creative arts and wellbeing centre in Salford. Here, they host activities like gardening, painting, photography and singing to help individuals overcome emotional difficulties, express themselves more clearly, grow in confidence and feel connected.

Start Creative is an offshoot of Start, which creates beautiful wooden products that support at-risk individuals and fund the wider project.

The woodwork workshop is run by highly trained individuals who teach traditional skills and modern techniques to Start members. They then handcraft products, overseen by a Creative Manager and the finest craft workers from the areas, who oversee the unique designs and quality assurance. They use ethically sourced materials from the Greater Manchester area, so each product benefits the local community and environment as well as the individuals making them.

Paying it forward

Start members are integral to the team and business, playing key roles in manufacture, sales and customer service, packaging and stock control. And every penny they make goes back into the Start in Salford charity so that they can offer more people the chance to develop their confidence and learn new skills.

The programme helps individuals gain a sense of achievement and a feeling of hope. They learn to become less critical of themselves, giving them confidence and independence which often leads to them going onto further successes; completing further courses, attending university, gigging in bars and full time employment.

And they’ve cleverly created a self-sustaining community of support because members who have benefited so much from Start, give back, coming back as teachers, mentors or volunteers themselves.

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