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The Rockery is Ready! Help us raise Mental Health Awareness in Armley…

So despite the lockdown setbacks, we are very excited to announce our PLAYGROUND: Exploring Mental Health Awareness project is set up and ready for the community to use! Interplay Theatre in Armley have allowed us to use their outdoor garden space to build a bench and rockery for everyone in Armley to use for mindfulness, wellbeing and memorialising our lost loved ones.

Made up of painted stones, this rockery is a space for all residents to share their experiences of mental health difficulties and offer hope and support to those currently affected. So many in our community experience anxiety, depression and grief alone in isolation; it is important that we tackle this issue by creating friendly, calm and creative spaces to connect with others. There is also information about various services and groups you can join to connect us better with our communitiy and the organisations that help us grow.

We’d like to thank our foundation team for providing the first few stones, with special shoutouts to Natasha Joseph, Artistic Director of We Belong Here, Councillor Lou Cunningham, Russ Giles, Mental Health and Wellbeing Coach for Touchstone as part of Armley Primary Care Network, and Emma Bearman, Founder of Playful Anywhere, who will be featured in our upcoming documentary for our Grafters Space project.

We look forward to spending the next year working with as many groups as we can to build up the rockery. We are particularly looking forward to the spring when our daffodil bulbs will pop up, thanks to the hard work of the urban task force team from the New Wortley Community Association, who also helped us build the bench.

We’d also like to thank Leeds Community Foundation and Interplay Theatre, for funding and supporting this project, and everyone who has volunteered, offered support and helped us develop this amazing opportunity.

Want to get involved? Paint a rock!

Painting rocks isn’t as hard as you’d think, and it is a great way to spend these cold and rainy afternoons, letting out some creative juices and having fun. First things first, find your rock (or get in touch with us as we have plenty!) and give it a proper scrub clean. Once dry, you’ll want to seal it, we’ve found Mod Podge/PVA glue works well, though the thinner the glue the more layers you’ll need! Now it’s time to paint away! Best to use acrylic paints, although marker pens do the job too; you can even get special acrylic or chalk paint pens that are perfect for this! All that’s left to do is make sure it’s dried and seal again. You can find clear coat sprays for outdoor use that will make sure your designs won’t wash away, or give it a good couple of layers of glue again, just make sure it’s all dry first, or you risk it running and smudging! Now you’re ready to place outdoors at our rockery, or join the Leeds West Rocks group on Facebook, to hide your painted stones around the area for others to find and rehide. You don’t have to be an artist, and you don’t have to recreate the Mona Lisa, just do what you want and get some of that energy out there!

Hopefully next year we can look towards starting up some pop-up painting stations and workshops across the area, so make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with all our projects! If you run a group or are involved in a service in Armley, and would like to get involved, please get in touch via email:


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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