Inspiring Minds

Inspiring Minds - Start in Salford
Start in Salford logo

Start’s ‘Inspiring Minds’ service is for people suffering with mental health conditions ranging from mild /moderate to more severe and enduring problems. This programme consists of weekly studio-based creative workshops and encourages members aged 18 plus to access various learning opportunities and pre employment skills supporting them to recovery which ultimately leads them back into the community.

The programme provides a personalised support and recovery package and our creative approach helps our beneficiaries build confidence, resilience and self esteem. We help reconnect and integrate mental health sufferers with their communities, providing pathways into training, employment, volunteering and leisure pursuits.

This programme is funded through a contract with Salford CCG and additional smaller grants.

Participants can access between 6 and 18 months worth of support dependent upon individual need and are supported through their recovery journey by a mentor who undertake regular reviews and assessments as well as assist individuals to complete Personal Development Plans to help with future aspirations and planning.

The programme runs both from our central base, Brunswick House, a Grade II listed building and within the local community.

Brunswick House boasts ‘state of the art’ multiple fully equipped arts studios, multimedia IT suite, music and recording studio, photography and dark room studios, pottery/ceramic and woodcraft workshops, a therapeutic horticulture studio within the community garden, and an extensive loft gallery/exhibition space. Located in the heart of Salford, close to the Shopping City and Salford University, Brunswick House is accessible to all Salford residents, and regional visitors, being at the centre of all public / transport routes.

Description of the arts activity

The Inspiring Minds Programme provides 2 hour creative sessions in a number of mediums. These include;

  • Visual Arts
  • Photography
  • Horticulture
  • Woodwork
  • Ceramics
  • Willow Weaving
  • Creative Writing
  • Textiles
  • Print Making
  • Music & Movement
  • Tai Chi

Professional Artists lead each group and participants are encouraged to consider themselves as aspiring artists when they join the organisation rather than mental health service users. This encourages people to look forward to learning new skills and to be proud of achievements.

Details of the project participants

Participants are all referred from either Primary or Secondary Mental Health Services and have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Project management

Start in Salford has been delivering projects for over 23 years. The experience of the Trustees is considered when we are recruiting for the board as we require a range of experience to help us in our governance of the company. Our board members have expertise in health care, finance, human resources, strategic marketing and sales, as well as containing service users who understand the benefits of Start first hand and therefore more easily than anybody else.

Our Senior management team has expertise from Operations & Development Management with various organisations within the North West over the last 16 or more years, and a C.M.I Diploma in Management.

Our Service Delivery Manager has worked at Start in Salford for 8 years. A qualified Occupational therapist with 28 years experience in mental health, the Service Development Manager is skilled in managing a team, monitoring and evaluation and current strategies for building skills, emotional resilience and independence in service users attending the organisation.

Our Chief Executive Office has managed Start in Salford for over 23 years and is experienced within the particular market segment.

Start in Salford has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. We were also awarded the ‘Investors in People’ quality mark in 2006 and have continued to pass the inspections, recently achieving GOLD standard. We are also in the final stages of acquiring the Matrix quality mark.

Evaluation methods and findings

Start in Salford has a robust system in place to track the progress of all of our services and outcomes. This is driven by a centralised ‘Hanlon’ database system which captures all client data including attendance within sessions and personal achievements such as distance travelled towards outcomes since joining the project.

Our team benefits from a three year programme of support by our evaluation partners Hall Aitken. Hall Aitken has provided support to embed a culture of self evaluation in START. So we use the Theory of Change approach to proving the link between our activities and short, medium and long term outcomes.

Our fully trained staff collects data using a variety of quantitative and qualitative tools including:

  • Reported; ‘stories of change’ tell us the impact of interventions from the service users’ perspective. Our case studies are informative, lively and demonstrate how our support changes clients’ wellbeing, confidence, self esteem, reduces isolation and encourages independence.
  • Observed; staff and family observations are recorded using templates to capture change and impact from the viewpoint of those closest to the service user. They often see changes which the service user may not recognise immediately
  • Measured; we use WEMWEBs to provide us with an assessment of overall wellbeing and changes in wellbeing over time. The tool is used to provide a baseline for service user wellbeing and then measured after six months to determine impact.
  • Monitoring; registers provide quantitative data to determine numbers participating.
Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England