A 6-week arts and crafts programme which supports health and wellbeing through local activities has commenced at Launchpad’s Hollyacre House in Durham.

Veteran residents living at the house were joined by members of the local community to learn about metal embossing.

The workshops are being delivered by Breathing Space, a counselling and mental health charity based in Witton Gilbert, County Durham and funded through the National Lottery.

Chris Jackson, Activities Co-ordinator at the house, contacted the charity to see if they would be available to engage with residents and deliver the workshops. He said: “We provide a range of activities and workshops for our residents to encourage them to engage and learn new skills. The arts and crafts sessions are always popular, as demonstrated more recently at Easter and the King’s Coronation, where the residents enjoyed making things.

“I was delighted when Breathing Space said they would be able to provide these sessions, which help the residents to keep active and stimulate their minds. Activities like this are always fun but they help with their mental health and wellbeing and encourage them to relax and enjoy some time together.

“The metal embossing workshop also enables us to welcome members of the local community into the house and to give them an opportunity to find out more about Launchpad and speak to some of the veterans who are living here, which they found interesting.”

Gillie Boggon, Project Co-ordinator from Breathing Space Durham, said: “We were awarded funding for our arts and crafts programme through the Happiness Hub grants, via the Pioneering Care Partnership. We wanted to make sure that we were working with and benefiting all sections of the local community. This partnership is exactly what we hoped to achieve in Sacriston. We aim to encourage members of the community to thrive through a wide range of programmes which help to support their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.”

Launchpad provides vital accommodation and support for up to 101 veterans across three houses in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham and helps residents to transition from military to civilian life. Hollyacre House in Sacriston, County Durham comprises up to 16 self-contained flats with communal facilities such as a lounge, kitchen, IT suite and gym. Residents are supported for up to two years (longer if necessary).