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Evaluation of Emerge Art Programme

Arts Programme helps ease transition from supported housing for people recovering from alcohol and substance misuse

A Bristol-based programme offering creative activities to people recovering from alcohol and substance misuse who had left, or were about to leave, supported housing improved their confidence and gave them valuable opportunities to develop new skills and interests at a time when they were most vulnerable. “Wicked. Just for one moment, I forgot who I was,” one participant said.

Another participant lacked the confidence to read his creative writing. Encouraged by others who read his words for him, he eventually had a professional recording made of him reading his poems. This was played over images of the group’s work at a final celebratory event.

The evaluation of this six-week programme showed that participants found creative activity was therapeutic and helped their confidence grow. Several are now planning to go on to other art courses.

Gerry Phillips, Managing Director of Emerge Bristol said:
“Participants have been highly delighted by their achievements, really pleased with themselves. It has improved their confidence, self esteem, belief in themselves. And it encouraged them to try new things, take risks.”

The Emerge art programme was a collaboration between Emerge, a supported housing initiative, dedicated to assisting people with a range of issues, including homelessness, alcohol and substance misuse; and Studio Upstairs, a working arts community which provides artistic resources and therapeutic support to people experiencing mental and emotional distress and to those in drug and alcohol recovery. Emerge funded the programme and referred the participants. Artist Barbara Disney ran the creative workshops. The project was managed and evaluated by specialist arts in health consultants, Willis Newson.

For more information, or to download a copy of the evaluation report go to

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