PLAYGROUND: Exploring Mental Health Awareness in Armley… with a rockery…

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month in October, and we Grafters are launching a brand new ‘PLAYGROUND‘ project in Armley to exploring how our community can tackle isolation, grief and loss by coming together! 1 in 4 people experience difficulties with their mental health at some point in their lives, but despite this, we often suffer alone, afraid to seek help or speak openly about our pain. We think it’s important to change this belief and get us talking to each other honestly and frankly about what is going on inside our headspace. Whilst this project won’t solve everything, we hope it is a small step towards helping our neighbours and fellow Leeds people to step up and join us this month!

Funded by Leeds Community Foundation and Interplay Theatre, this project will see a new green space for residents to connect with each other and share their experiences of Mental Health journies. This garden for wellbeing, mindful reflection and memorials will be created at Interplay Theatre; with a Little Free Library and community planters already there, this is the perfect place for Armleyians to escape from the busy city and unite. As well as new benches and landscaping, we will be building the quintessential British garden feature, a rockery.

This rockery will be built up slowly over time by us all. Some of you may have seen the very popular geo-caching hobby of painting rocks and hiding them, well that is exactly what we want you all to do. We are inviting anyone in Armley and the wider West Leeds area to paint their own rock with messages of hope and support, or memorials to loved ones, be it someone special in your life, someone who has been a rock for you, or someone you have lost, so they can be remebered by us all. There will also be rocks with information about local groups and services you can access, helping us all to feel more connected. We will also be inviting artists and creatives in the area to give rock painting a go, making this rockery a vibrant, positive and quirky addition to Armley.

Once we have got the space up and running, it is yours to use as you need and like, so add as many gnomes, bird feeders, pinwheels or wreaths as you want, because we want the community to take ownership and pride in this garden. We will be holding a number of events for planting, painting workshops and maintaining the space, and are inviting any groups who would like to take part to get in touch. This will include giving away rocks and paints for free!

To launch the space, we will be holding a foundation stone laying ceremony with invited community leaders each placing their own personalised stone, as well as planting daffodil bulbs ready for the spring. This event will be filmed as part of a documentary exploring mental health, more details on that will follow shortly!

Unfortunately with the current Covid-19 restrictions we can not hold as big an event as we would have liked, but we will be asking anyone who is interested to visit on the day to place their own stones. All ages are welcome! Of course, once the space is set up, you will be able to add stones any time you like! You can also post your rocks online, tag us in on Twitter or Instagram and use #playgroundleeds #armleyrockery to get a share!

If you’d like anymore information or would like to get involved, feel free to contact us via the page above or send us a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

If you are in crisis or having difficulties with your mental health, you are not alone and help is out there for you. You can call the Single Point of Access (SPA) Team on 0300 300 1485 or find out more about available services in Leeds by visiting Live Well Leeds run by Mind, Leeds.

Published by graftcollaborativecic

Graft Collaborative is a non-profit Community Interest Company established to support emerging creative practitioners from a range of artistic and performative disciplines through the development of engaging projects involving Leeds-based communities to highlight and engage residents with important social issues. This will be achieved by creating and developing opportunities for communities to engage and participate in artistic projects from emerging artistic and performative practitioners.

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