Backing for Independent Arts new portfolio project

PortFolio, a new project from Newport-based Independent Arts designed to improve mental health, has received funding from Bupa UK Foundation.

PortFolio was originally a pilot project, but now the £16,000 Bupa UK Foundation grant will support a year-long provision. PortFolio is designed to run over eight weeks, providing art workshops and mindfulness sessions specifically aimed at promoting wellbeing for people with mid-life mental health issues.

Hannah Griffith, Project Manager, said: “PortFolio is a series of workshops across several art disciplines including 3D wirework drawing, collage, photography, 3D modelling and painting accompanied by guided mindfulness sessions.

“The central theme is to allow the individual to express themselves creatively within both a social and nurturing environment. At the end of the eight weeks a portfolio of artwork is created and presented in a keepsake box.”

An estimated one in five GP visits are made for non-medical reasons and a total of 70.9 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in England in 2018. While medication is one intervention research has indicated that art therapy can have a positive effect on mental health, especially in cases of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
For over thirty years Independent Arts has been dedicated to improving people’s lives through participation in art-based activities and every week between 500 and 600 people attend workshops, classes and activities facilitated by the charity.

Established in 1987, Independent Arts, based in Quay Street, Newport, is a registered charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living on the Isle of Wight, particularly those with special needs, the disadvantaged and the elderly, by providing access to exciting and stimulating creative activities.

Independent Arts also lead the way in social prescribing by connecting people to social activities which have proven to significantly improve health and wellbeing by meeting wider emotional, physical and social needs. Social prescribing can range from a referral to the Anxiety Café, DanceSense classes for people with neurological conditions, Singing for Breathing to improve lung conditions, photography workshops for people living with dementia, gardening projects and social events for those who feel isolated 
If you feel that you could benefit from attending the next PortFolio sessions please call (01983) 822437 or email or for more information visit