Mansfield Museum is launching a therapeutic project for women who are survivors of domestic abuse.
Creative Women Together will see at-risk women meet in libraries, community halls and social spaces to learn about fine art through the museum’s collection.
The project comes as part of Mansfield District Council’s support for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, a UN campaign that ran until Human Rights Day on 10 December.
The initiative is funded by a £89,680 grant from the Museums Association's Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and aims to help 50 women already recognised by support services.
Weekly and monthly sessions run by a council community engagement officer, along with an art therapist and local artist, will look to help participants find employment, apprenticeship and volunteering opportunities.
The council’s portfolio holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing, Marion Bradshaw, said: “Sadly in Mansfield too many women experience domestic violence, abuse and trauma.
“This can leave them facing long-term problems and feeling trapped in a vicious circle of very low self-esteem and poor mental and physical health. We hope this project will enable them to feel better about themselves and feel empowered to take positive control in their lives.”
Mansfield Museum curator Jodie Henshaw said: “We have always managed the museum as a progressive, interdisciplinary community space and community asset that has heritage and education driving its programmes.
“Creative Women Together will provide a healing journey for some of our most vulnerable citizens, a journey that is caring, loving, and non-judgemental.”
She continued: “Participants will be able to overcome barriers and explore their emotions by building their confidence and self-esteem. We hope they also make new connections and friends along the way.”
David Evans, head of health and communities at Mansfield District Council, said: “Mansfield is in the lowest 20% of all local authorities in England for cultural engagement and highest 20% of most deprived districts in the country.
“As a council, we are keen to address this and we are now seeing renewed investment in the arts and culture in Mansfield, specifically in areas of health and wellbeing and social prescribing, delivered in partnership with Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group.”
He continued: “This work connects with a wider set of wellbeing priorities in which the council is involved, to deliver schemes to alleviate food insecurity and projects around smoking, low-level addictions and mental health.”