We are delighted to have won a Partnership in Practice Bronze Award for our work with the Chichester Centre at the Positive Practice Awards 2017, run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Chichester Festival Theatre’s Learning Education and Participation Department (LEAP) has worked in partnership with the Chichester Centre – a three ward unit for people experiencing mental health related issues – since February 2016. The LEAP department aims to excite and inspire individuals by providing creative opportunities for all ages and abilities; one of their key objectives is to identify and engage with isolated communities, to engender greater social confidence and inclusion. Sessions were offered at the Chichester Centre as an open group with participants coming from a variety of different backgrounds, diagnosis and levels of participation.
The weekly sessions have introduced theatrical skills ranging from script-writing to improvisation and performance. Participants have also come to the Theatre to attend Relaxed Performances, dress rehearsals and theatre tours; some have also got involved in volunteering activities. This summer the group participants came together with an adult Devised Theatre group from CFT to share their work with each other.
The participants have developed a confidence in initiating and sharing new ideas, speaking in one-to-one and group work, and in directing others. The development of these skills have transferred into a wider variety of social situations, whether it is voluntary work, accessing college or initiating and maintaining conversation in new social situations. It is our hope that having worked to create a sense of community for the participants within the Centre, we can aim to extend this out further into the city that they live in.