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Singing for Breathing Launch!

Independent Arts is delighted to announce that the popular Singing for Breathing group has reopened. The charity received a grant raised by HealthShape through The Peoples Health Trust, enabling them to offer sessions to people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory conditions.
SingAbout: Singing for Breathing is based on a recognised form of therapy specifically developed for individuals with a respiratory condition.

We had a great turn out for the launch, and enjoyed an array of vocal exercise, along with ribbon cutting and balloons! Special thanks to Sandy and Heather and everybody who came along.
Each session includes physical and vocal warm up activities, the vocal production of phonic sounds, singing together and relaxation strategies. 
Singing for Breathing has been demonstrated to reduce anxiety about breathing difficulty and increase confidence in self-managing everyday activity and living. Participants have described engaging in more social and valued activities and experience less difficulty breathing. Sessions are held every Friday afternoon 2.00 - 4.00pm at the Riverside Centre in Newport.  For further information or to book a place on the programme please call Independent Arts: 01983 822437.
Young Writers Group

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new creative writing project. The Young Writers group gives budding writers aged 16-25 years the opportunity to gain advice, support and feedback on their work.
Funded by Arts Council England, each session will focus on a different topic including flash fiction, micro fiction, writing poetry, starting a blog, performing your work, planning a novel, getting published and pitching to magazines. 
Writers are encouraged to contribute pieces to our blog throughout the project, and there will be the opportunity to have their work featured in a published anthology.
Sessions will be led by Amy Mackelden, a writer and blogger who has written for Heat magazine, and websites like Hello Giggles and Bustle. 
The sessions will be held on Saturday mornings 10am – 12pm at Starbucks in Newport from 6th February 2016.
For further information or to book a place on the programme please call Independent Arts: 01983 822437 or email
SingAbout is Growing

SingAbout has gone from strength to strength, with six groups running across the Island. Three well established groups, in Freshwater, Newport and Ryde. Two new groups, in East Cowes and Lake and our Ventnor group has moved to new, larger premises at Ventnor Baptist Church. There are now over 200 regular participants at SingAbout across the Island.
The Lake group which launched at the beginning of January has been particularly successful, with 30 regular participants already benefitting from the weekly singing sessions.

Project Manager Hannah Griffiths said “The residents of The Bay area have been waiting for a local SingAbout group for some time, it has been great to be able to deliver the project to so many enthusiastic people. The session has attracted accomplished singers and novices, as well as people with various health conditions. SingAbout is great for building confidence as well as helping with breathing and memory, it is also good fun”

Visit our website for details on sessions times for each location
News for Workshops for Wellbeing 

"Many thanks to all our practitioners for their hard work in 2015.  It was great to see so many of you at our Christmas Jolly, and we hope to have more opportunities to get together as a community in the coming year".  From all of us at Independent Arts.

We have three new practitioners joining us this month and next, across all areas; music, movement, creative writing and applied arts.  All have come from a variety of interesting backgrounds, and can be found on our practitioner page on the IA website. 
Click here. 

We have also extended our range of workshops adding a new chair based pilates movement session, a new holistic sensory reminiscence workshop, and an additional reminiscence session using progressive nurture therapy.

We have received some wonderful comments from the homes, residents and their families alike about the difference the sessions can make. I hear some of our movement sessions have a regular attendance of relatives, keeping fit alongside mum and dad!   
In the coming year some of our practitioners will be helping with the Lottery funded Creative Futures project, using their experience and knowledge to support the volunteers involved.
Creative Cafe gets a Digital Boost

Independent Arts is delighted to have received a grant from IW Foundation for Creative Café, a regular group for older people that provides a different and exciting creative activity along with an opportunity to socialise, and learn something new every week.
The aim of the Creative Café is to improve health and wellbeing by facilitating access to highly creative activities including iPads, digital photography, music, visual art and craft. It provides a supportive and welcoming environment for older people, who can come together every week, make new friends and express themselves through creative activity.
Since its launch in February 2015, Creative Café has evolved and there has been a growing interest in the iPad sessions that are offered. 
The grant from IW Foundation will enable us to purchase vital equipment for the group including 8 iPads which will be available for the group to use every week. Over the coming months, participants of the group will develop and contribute to the Creative Café blog. The use of the iPads will also enhance the range of current activities that are offered by exploring the range of apps and websites available.
Creative Café runs every Monday at the Methodist Church Hall in Quay Street, Newport from 10am-12pm. Sessions are free, and refreshments are provided. 
Creative Futures

Our Creative Futures project is now beginning to bear fruit, with our first group of volunteers trained and beginning to deliver the one to one sessions. With care homes across the island referring their most isolated residents to the project, we are building a network of volunteers to deliver as many sessions as possible. The creative sessions have included listening to and discussing music, arts and crafts, helping with puzzles, crosswords and photography. 
We are currently working in 4 care homes on the Island with another 8 signed up to be involved in the next role out, which we are aiming to do before Easter. We want to involve homes across the Island by this time next year, with a group of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds delivering the sessions. Our volunteers are supported by a creative mentor for an initial period to help the volunteers build their skills and increase confidence. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Creative Futures project, please don't hesitate to contact Hannah at or phone 01983 822437.
Welcome Caroline
Independent Arts is delighted to introduce a new member to our office team. Caroline will be supporting all our project work and the workshops plus covering the office.
Caroline Thorn - Administrative Assistant
Caroline has recently returned to the Isle of Wight after successfully completing a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art at Plymouth University. During her time in Plymouth Caroline was involved in recruiting and promoting for her Student Union and worked part time at the local bowling alley to help finance her studies. She also joined her Universities netball Squad and with that was able to travel and compete abroad.
Prior to that Caroline Achieved a Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and media at Portsmouth University. Her background is predominantly in photography, though she is very passionate about using all forms of Art as a method of therapy for those in need.
In her spare time Caroline likes to keep active and attends various gym classes, she is also hoping this year to complete her water sports instructors course, which will enable her to teach and travel in the future. 
Training Opportunities

We are pleased to announce that Hannah Griffiths has successfully completed her dementia Champion training with the Alzheimer's Society and is now qualified to offer short ‘dementia friend’ courses. Lots of practitioners have expressed an interest in participating and we are planning to run some training in February, dates to be advised.   

Community Action IW are also running a variety of training courses that would be really beneficial to those working with residential homes or volunteering within one of our projects, or even if you're just eager to expand your knowledge and understanding within this field. 
Lighting DARC - Dementia Awareness Reaching Communities is running through various dates in April and May. To apply for this specific course click 
Application form or to find out more information visit Community Action.
Volunteer Vacancies 

We are always looking for volunteers for our established Island-wide SingAbout project, Creative Café and our new Creative Futures projects. Volunteering with the charity is incredibly rewarding and full training and support is given. Most projects only require you to commit to a couple of hours each week, and we have flexibility in the schedule if you want to take time off. If you'd like to find out more about opportunities to get involved with Independent Arts feel free to call us for an informal chat. More information about our volunteering opportunities can also be found Click here.  
Copyright © 2015 Independent Arts, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Independent Arts, Suite Three, 30 Quay Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 5BA
01983 822437
Registered charity number: 297474.

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