Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a weekly business feature which highlights lesser-known businesses that generally go under the radar. Here, we introduce hoot creative arts, a mental health charity adopting an unconventional approach to wellbeing support throughout Kirklees and surrounding areas.
Since its launch in 2012, Arts Council England national portfolio organisation, hoot creative arts, has dedicated its services to offering invaluable wellbeing support – seeking to normalise mental health, support personal growth, and promote social change through creative expression.
Jointly commissioned by Kirklees Council and NHS Kirklees CCG, the not-for-profit organisation works in alignment with Kirklees’ Working Better Together partnership to encourage strong effective links in local mental health support services and to signpost those in need to easy-access integrated resources.
The organisation’s services include writing and visual arts activities, projects like The Breathing Space – which works to support people living with the early stages of dementia and their carers – and larger-scale services like Wellbeing at Work – a tailored package delivered by hoot’s highly-skilled professional artist facilitators to aid the transition of working life post-pandemic.
Rather than adopting traditional conversational and medicinal approaches to mental health support, hoot creative arts believes that it is important for people to recognise their creative capacity as fundamental to mental and physical health. The human connection that expressive activity facilitates, hoot believe, is vital, as evidenced in the sense of togetherness unearthed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Although operations were compromised over the past 18 months, the organisation’s bespoke digital ‘hoot from home’ service saw a quick-turn around and high-quality change of provisions, allowing customers to continue embracing the wellbeing support on offer online. hoot is now utilising a spectrum approach in the transition back to normality, which prioritises the interests of users by providing a dual service of both online and in-person events to choose from.
Extending its ethos even further, hoot creative arts recently launched its Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in the Arts (IDE(A)) initiative. Prompted by the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement during 2020/21, IDEA(A) is a prism that has driven an uncompromising internal discussion for organisation members through which operations are increasingly viewed. It works to challenge individual behaviour, practices, and unconscious biases throughout all areas – including recruitment, marketing, and other outreach operations.
Speaking on the direction of the organisation, chair of the board, Natasha McCreesh, said: “Our charity certainly packs a punch, but our board of trustees is quite small. We would really like to engage a broader skillset and bring in a wider variety of representatives – Huddersfield has a fantastic multi-cultural community, but our current board doesn’t reflect this in the way we’d like it to. Our ultimate goal is for the communities we serve to feel represented and supported.
“We’d also really like local businesses to get involved in our work. From one local businessperson to another, I think our role as leaders in the community is to consciously contribute to supporting the people around us.”
Allocated in 2020, hoot is also proud to be the health and wellbeing lead for Kirklees Year of Music, a year-long programme aimed to highlight the diversity of music and encourage experimentation and enjoyment of culture throughout the district. The organisation’s involvement includes leading the health and wellbeing strand of the programme, which works to promote the links between health and culture.
There is currently an open invitation for trustees and volunteers at hoot creative arts.
For more information about becoming a trustee, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, email email@example.com
To find out more about hoot creative arts and the services they offer, visit www.hootcreativearts.co.uk.