Arbroath Mental Health Charity Brings Hope in Isolation

An Arbroath mental health charity is distributing arts and crafts boxes to those struggling with isolation during the Covid19 lockdown.

The Hope Box project was created by Dundee charity Front Lounge. After receiving two sample boxes from Front Lounge, Reach Across secured £5,000 from the Resilience Fund, distributed by Foundation Scotland, to tailor the boxes to their specific audiences. Reach Across has now handed almost 50 Hope Boxes to families, young people and other vulnerable people across the town, including residents of St Vigeon’s Care Home.

As well as materials ranging from pens, pastels and paints to canvas, charcoals and disposable cameras, Reach Across have added tailored extras depending on recipients’ hobbies, from knitting and crochet materials to nailcare items!

Stacey Dickinson and Dorothy Paul


Reach Across was launched by Sandra Ramsay in 2015, following the loss of a loved one to suicide.

Sandra said, “When we moved our weekly art therapy group online, it soon become clear that moods were low and the people we support wanted something to focus on, to lift their spirits. The Hope Boxes have gone down an absolute treat, providing something to work on and create. Who knows, we’ve maybe even kick-started a few hobbies in the process and created some lasting friendships.”

Before the Covid19 lockdown set in, Front Lounge had intended to run monthly Hope Hub events across Scotland, providing a safe place for people affected by mental health challenges. The Hope Box project allows Front Lounge to continue these efforts, bridging isolation through art. To date, almost 300 boxes have now been distributed across Dundee, Perthshire, Angus and Fife.

Hope Box was created by Chika Inatimi, Project Leader at Front lounge in conjunction with Jacqueline Goodall, final year art student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and Hope Hub Lead Artist. Jacqueline said, “The response has been overwhelming and beyond what I ever imagined. The artwork we have collected back has been imaginative, creative and unique, spreading hope and joy for everyone. People are trying new things, using materials that are taking them out of their comfort zone and being expressive. For some, it has been years since they last created a piece of art while, for others, this is a completely new experience. It has also been wonderful seeing some families come together; parents using Hope Box to make art with their children to keep them busy while bonding them together.”

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