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Together through art

Susan Hampshire

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Together Through Art Cllr John Walton New Mills and District Volunteer Centre Amanda Whewell High Peak Community Arts

A textile wall hanging has been created by elderly people attending a weekly `Together Through Art' programme.

The artwork entitled `Our Rivers' was unveiled at a celebratory event by the Deputy Mayor of the High Peak, Cllr John Walton. It now takes pride of place in the New Mills and District Volunteer Centre.

The 10-week project was organised by High Peak Community Arts and the Volunteer Centre with funding from the Co-op store on Church Road. The aim of the art sessions was to help local elderly people get out of the house, to meet new friends, have fun and be creative.

Local artist Amanda Whewell, who led the activities, said: "There was always a good atmosphere at the sessions as if the group were old friends when actually most of them had only met at these workshops. Several people had to miss sessions because of illness or other reasons and the rest of the group would miss them and always find out how they were. It was great to get together for the celebration event and for everyone to ‘catch up’ and see the great results of their creativity.''

The group decided to focus on the rivers which are so central to New Mills, the Torrs and the Riverside Park, as their theme. Those attending learnt and developed skills in silk painting, appliqué, embroidery and tie dye to create both the wall hanging, and also work to take home.

The money from the Co-op Community Fund provided free transport to the workshops, using the Volunteer Centre mini bus, enabling people to attend who would struggle to get there otherwise

Alison Bowry is creative programme manager at High Peak Community Arts, based at High Lea Park. She said: “We know that being creative, getting involved in arts and crafts is great for our health and well-being, and a wonderful way to relax and engage with other people.''