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Arts: Designs for Living


OVER MANY years, Annexe Communities has evolved a successful range of community arts activities. Topics include visual arts such as painting and drawing, drama, making and recording music, ceramics, stained glass, fashion, design and costume arts – culminating in volunteers taking part in the West End festival procession.

Sewing classes remain hugely popularIn 2009 funding was secured from a local businessman to enable us to run a series of youth art workshops, based on fashion and design. The main aim was to enable young people to participate in creative activities and in so doing enhance their life skills, their confidence and self-esteem.

Youth workshops continue today and are run by a group of parents and volunteers – called In the Making, who have set up their own social enterprise. In turn the youth workshops led to a demand for similar adult workshops. In 2011 three years’ funding was secured from The Robertson Trust.

Four times a year, a ten-week programme of workshops is offered for local adults at Annexe Communities’ headquarters in Partick, Glasgow. Activities include sewing and design, crafts, beginners’ art and stained glass and a local history group. Around 120 people take part each year. Participants represent a cross-section of the local community – men and women, the elderly, people with learning disabilities and some with poor physical or mental health.

The activities have proved successful for learning new skills and generating creativity. Feedback from the majority of users indicates that the most important aspects of the classes are meeting new friends and taking part in interesting and stimulating activities.

We are now nearing the end of the three year funding period and are currently seeking resources to continue Designs for Living for a further two years. This is particularly important since arts activities are not only a valued community resource in their own right, but are also an important element of our Annexe Connects project.

If you would like to assist this project in any way, please contact our Administrator, Lainey Docherty at this email address or telephone the number below. We will be happy to hear from you. Email: lainey.docherty@annexecommunities.org.uk

Download this case study (PDF).



It has encouraged me to think about community art as a career path.

(Female aged 30 – Stained glass class). She added: “Some of the class have mental health issues and during the course you could see how much of a positive effect it had on them.”

I was amazed at what I could achieve in the class when I didn’t believe I had any skills.

(Female age 79 – Stained glass class)

It’s mentally healthy because it forces you to use your brain – and in a happy environment meeting other people.

(Female – Sewing group)

Excellent for stress release

(Older carer – Sewing group)

More confidence, less depressed, relaxing, therapeutic – more joie de vivre!

(Art class participant, March 2011)

Friendly atmosphere, meeting people, being able to do something my health allows me to do.

(Older person – Art Class)

I’m glad I’ve stuck it out and continued to come to the course – and I’ve gained confidence.

(Female aged 20, referred by mental health care worker)

The group has been great for me, mixing with people, developing confidence, and self-esteem.

(Male aged 25, referred by Glasgow Association for Mental Health)