Creative Torbay

Creative Torbay / News / Wed 25 Sep 2013

Calling on young artists - aged 16-25

Calling on young artists - aged 16-25

Media Release: Creatively Improving Mental Health

A young Sanctuary Housing resident living in Paignton, who is concerned by the lack of creative outlets for young people with mental health conditions, is continuing her campaign to gain support from local leaders in her area.

Katie Sowden runs a youth group in her town of Paignton, which encourages young people to tackle mental health conditions through creativity.

With support from Sanctuary Housing and charity project Fixers, 22-year-old Katie is creating a poster campaign, bringing Torbay to life through the eyes of young people.

To make this happen, Katie is calling on young artists, aged 16-25, in the Torbay area to contribute towards the campaign.

If you are interested and would like to put your creative skills to use for a good cause, please contact Katie Ost, the Fixers Young Person’s Coordinator for the West Country, by emailing

Katie has been working with Fixers, a charity which supports young people to ‘fix the future’, since the beginning of 2013 and held her first workshop back in April this year to help young people with mental health issues find a creative outlet to help express themselves.

She said: “Fixers has helped me to develop a creative way to tackle the issue.

“My project gave me the opportunity to help young people who suffer from mental illness to get creative. It has also empowered me to know I can make a difference to my community. “

Now, she wants more young people from across Torbay to get involved with her campaign, which she hopes will help persuade local decision-makers to continue providing funds for vital mental health services.

She said: “With the poster campaign I see my project reaching more people on a wider scale across Torbay.

“Studies have proven that the arts have a positive effect on people who have mental health conditions as it allows them to integrate with people in a similar position, and encourages them to express themselves.

“Without support groups and projects, people will lose confidence and feel alone. I hope this campaign will encourage local councillors, MPs and the general public to see how vital creative mental health support is to the lives of young people.”

Sanctuary has provided £60,000 funding to Fixers to support projects in locations across England and Scotland, including Torbay, which are led by young residents aged 16 – 25.

More than 7,000 young people have already joined the Fixers movement, with previous projects covering a range of subjects including cyber-bullying, gang culture, homelessness and eating disorders.

Sophie Atkinson, Sanctuary Group’s head of community investment and sustainability, said: “We are committed to supporting young people and providing them with the opportunity to make a positive contribution to their community.”

“By supporting this project, we hope youngsters will be encouraged to develop and drive solutions to local issues that affect them, and in turn help change the perceptions of young people and other community members.”

Fixers is charity which supports young people across the UK to take action and change things for the better, addressing any issue they feel strongly about.

How each Fixer tackles their chosen issue is up to them – as long as they benefit someone else.

The award-winning Fixers project has already supported over 9,000 young people to have an authentic voice in their community.

Each Fixer is supported to create the resources they need - such as films, websites or print work - to make their chosen project a success.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers aims to work with a further 19,000 young people over the next three years.

“Fixers started in 2008 as just an idea… an idea given a voice by over 9,000 young people over the past five years,” says Margo Horsley, Fixers Chief Executive.

“They have reached thousands of people with their work, on a national stage as well as in and around where they live. They choose the full array of social and health issues facing society today and set about making their mark. Fixers are always courageous and their ideas can be challenging and life-changing, not just for themselves.”

Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund UK Chair, said: “The Big Lottery Fund is extremely happy to be supporting Fixers to engage with more young people to change things for the better. Thousands of public-spirited young people across the UK are campaigning to make improvements in their own communities. By providing a platform to highlight their voluntary work and many achievements, Fixers demonstrates the positive contribution thousands of committed young people are making at a local level and challenges negative stereotypes.”

Photo attached. Captions:
1. Katie Sowden, 22, from Paignton

For images, interviews or more information, please contact Jatin Patel in the Fixers Communications Team by email or phone 01962 810970.

There are lots more stories about young people doing great things on the Fixers website, Twitter and Facebook pages:

Notes to editors:

• Fixers started in England in 2008. Now with a £7.2 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers is extending into Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. To date, over 8,400 young people across the UK have become Fixers and created 900 projects.
• Established in 1969, Sanctuary Group is responsible for the provision of social housing, care and management services across England and Scotland. It owns or operates around 80,000 units of accommodation and employs over 9,000 people. The Group operates under a not for profit umbrella, with surpluses reinvested into the provision of affordable housing, the maintenance of existing properties, and the development of new services for customers.
• Sanctuary is an Industrial and Provident Society, an exempt charity under the Charities Act 1993 and is regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency.
• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £29 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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