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Community art club receives more than £9,000 to continue supporting the lonely and isolated

PUBLISHED: 18:08 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:48 31 January 2018

Thursdays at the Fisher members celebrate after receiving £9,250 from the National Lottery. Photo: Sophie Wood.

Thursdays at the Fisher members celebrate after receiving £9,250 from the National Lottery. Photo: Sophie Wood.

A community arts club for people “facing challenges in their life” has received more than £9,000 in funding from the National Lottery.

‘Thursdays at the Fisher’ helps combat the loneliness and isolation experienced by those who suffer with brain injuries and dementia.

The group meets each Thursday at The Fisher Theatre, in Broad Street, Bungay.

Sophie Wood started the group with her friend Hannah Gifford in February last year to provide a more creative space for their mothers who both required extra care.

Ms Wood’s mother Judy Kelsey was left with severe short term memory loss after a stroke, while Ms Gifford’s mother suffers from dementia.

“When my mother came out of hospital there was very little for her to do in Bungay – it was very lonely for her”, said Ms Wood.

“She was one of the original trustees at The Fisher Theatre and before the stroke was always busy – whether that be volunteering or helping out behind the bar.”

Each week the group is joined by a local artist who guides members through creative activities including, painting, pottery and jewellery making.

Ms Wood said: “It has been really popular.

“The activities help give people a sense of achievement - it’s art for arts sake.

“It also a bit of extra therapy as it helps to develop their fine motor skills.”

After receiving £9,250 via the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund the group is now hoping to expand the services and experiences it currently offers.

The money will also help fund training for volunteers.

Ms Wood said: “People want to try new things and work with different artists.

“We would like to introduce a singing group and a dementia-friendly cinema.”

According to Ms Wood the decision to host the weekly sessions at the theatre was a “no-brainer.”

She said: “It’s a brilliant community asset which is under-used during the day and it allows for interaction with the general public.”

The club runs from 10.30am to 12.30pm each Thursday and costs £10 per member with carers going free.

If you are interested in attending a session or volunteering, email fisherartsandsocial@gmail.com

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