New mural created by young people is unveiled at community centre in Lowestoft

Adele Bellis (centre) unveiling the mural with Zina Bourne (right) and Sharon Tejada-Jimenez (left).

Adele Bellis (centre) unveiling the mural with Zina Bourne (right) and Sharon Tejada-Jimenez (left). Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A new mural depicting some of the most recognisable landmarks in the town has been unveiled at a community centre in Lowestoft.

Adele Bellis with the new mural at Boston Lodge community centre - created by young people as part o

Adele Bellis with the new mural at Boston Lodge community centre - created by young people as part of a therapeutic art project. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

It marks the conclusion of a 'therapeutic art project' which has seen young people with mental health issues collaborate to design and paint the distinctive artwork – giving them a sense of ownership of the place where they regularly meet to build friendships.

The colourful beach scene includes the lighthouse, Belle Vue Park, Gulliver wind turbine and beach huts.

It was created at Boston Lodge, on Boston Road, through a partnership between the Ormiston Families charity, which manages the community centre, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Mind – the mental health charity.

The mural in the main hall was officially unveiled on Thursday, February 4, by acid attack victim Adele Bellis with about 100 people, including members of the community, attending the celebratory event.

Sharon Tejada-Jimenez, service manager for Ormiston Families at Boston Lodge, said: 'The project has been the 'talk of the town' and has truly revitalised the main hall at the centre.'

Kara Glass, 24, of Wrentham was recommended to join the project by Mind.

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'I had so much fun and it just stresses that a group project like this can improve our mental health,' she said.

Adele Bellis, who was on hand to unveil the mural, added: 'It's a pleasure that I am here to unveil this extremely worthwhile project – the mural is fantastic.'

The project, which started at the end of 2014, has helped young people who are isolated, or struggling with mental health issues to increase their confidence, social skills and teamwork.

The 14 to 25-year-olds brainstormed ideas and researched the town's history, before coming up with three designs for the wall, which were then put to a public vote at the centre and via social media.

Group members then met up each week to create the final piece, with all of the paint donated by Dulux in Great Yarmouth.

They also included a small character to represent themselves on the mural.

The initiative was driven by occupational therapists Claire Moran and Catherine Kilbey – who work with NSFT's Youth Service.

Ms Moran said: 'We are absolutely delighted that this innovative project has made such a difference to the young people, who all worked so hard to create this mural.

'When we all first met, a lot of the young people were struggling with confidence and engaging with social activities.

'It's been fantastic to see that change as the project has progressed and their confidence has grown.'

To find out more, visit www.whatsthedealwith.co.uk/blog/boston-lodge-blank-canvas

Do you have a Lowestoft community story? Email joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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