HAMPSHIRE Cultural Trust has teamed up with the Murray Parish Trust to launch a new project providing mental health support to young people.

The trust has previously worked with Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) on two projects that supported young people struggling with their emotional and psychological health, ICE (Inspire, Create, Exchange) and ICE Heritage.

The successor to these two programmes is Stepping Stones, which is being supported by The Murray Parish Trust.

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Continuing HCT’s mission to enable young people to access high-quality arts and culture, Stepping Stones will provide regular, long-term opportunities for young people to use creativity to build their emotional resilience.

Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire Cultural Trust is working with the Murray Parish Trust on Stepping StonesHampshire Cultural Trust is working with the Murray Parish Trust on Stepping Stones (Image: Hampshire Cultural Trust)Beginning in February 2024, the programme will engage vulnerable children and young people aged 11 to 17 in tailored, arts-based interventions led by artists. These sessions, designed to foster a nurturing environment for emotional expression and personal growth, will be held in Hampshire Cultural Trust's museums as well as other community settings.

Sarah Parish, co-founder of The Murray Parish Trust, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be a part of the Stepping Stones project, an initiative that aligns seamlessly with our mission at The Murray Parish Trust.

“Supporting children's mental health through art is a cause close to our hearts, and the Stepping Stones project encapsulates the transformative impact that creative expression can have on young minds. The joy, growth and healing that art brings to these children and young people resonate deeply with our commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of the younger generation.”

Deborah Neubauer, director of community and impact at Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: “Our new Stepping Stones programme will provide opportunities for local young people to engage in new artistic experiences, using art as an outlet to channel their energy and express their emotions, while giving them a chance to create something that provides a sense of achievement.

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Hampshire Chronicle: The sessions will take place at HCT museums across HampshireThe sessions will take place at HCT museums across Hampshire (Image: Hampshire Cultural Trust)“We hope the sessions will help children and young people see learning and personal development as a positive experience whilst also developing transferable skills that support their recovery and longer-term life chances.”

The children and young people taking part will be referred through partners such as wellbeing centres, care providers, schools and social prescribing networks to attend courses which will include art journaling, ceramic making and gardening skills. Participants can also self-refer via an online form.

For more information about Stepping Stones, visit the Hampshire Cultural Trust website.