Suffolk-based Art Branches group celebrates first year

Children taking part in the Art Branches' Tree Tales project
Children taking part in the Art Branches' Tree Tales project

A non-profit organisation which aims to improve people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing is celebrating a successful first year.

Art Branches has been introducing people to supported art projects linked to their outside environment since being set up last year by artist Stephanie Hartick and fellow directors Sara Noonan and Deborah Pipe.

So far the trio have helped almost 500 people in Suffolk, including more than 210 vulnerable adults and children.

Ms Hartick said: “It’s been quite useful all across the community and we’ve had some positive feedback and good results.”

Projects have included sketchbook strolls in a number of locations within Suffolk, working with patients recovering from mental health issues at Wedgwood House, in Bury St Edmunds, and Tree Tales, an intervention programme which helped children express emotions and thoughts by using trees like the ancient oak in Bury’s Abbey Gardens as points of interest and imagination.

Statistical research from the Tree Tales project is being evaluated by the University of Suffolk and Comic Relief is providing a grant of £4,982 to enable it to move into Cambridgeshire later this year.

In March Art Branches, supported by the Woodland Trust National Tree Charter and councillors Mark Ereira-Guyer, Joanna Rayner and Trevor Beckwith, is planning to launch a Trees in Town competition, an inter-generational project aimed at getting all Bury schools and community groups to think creatively.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/ArtBranches.