North East Connected

Charity Christmas cards designed by people with mental health problems and learning disabilities

People with mental health problems and learning disabilities in the North East have produced a series of Christmas cards to raise awareness and money for charity.

Service users at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), which provides mental health and disabilities care across the North East, have designed four Christmas cards which they hope will help spread a little Christmas cheer this festive season.

The cards are the work of members of the Arts Project based at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth, led by Project Manager Jane Akhurst.

She said: “Our Arts Project relies on a team of multi-skilled arts professionals and experienced tutors to deliver a varied programme of activities for patients.

“New ideas, projects and methods are continually stimulated and service users are able to experience a broad range of activities to suit individual preference and ability.

“It is great that we can raise awareness of the Arts Project through Christmas cards. Such projects give service users an outlet for their creativity and imagination, resulting in a real sense of achievement and reward for their artistic endeavours. This year it is wonderful that the project is also raising money for the NTW service user charity.”

All profits from the cards, which are available at NTW sites across the region, will go to the NTW charity SHINE Fund, as well as to helping to support the Arts Project.

SHINE organiser Tracey Sopp said: “It is lovely that our service users have been able to use their creative skills for such a good cause. All money to the SHINE Fund goes towards projects, outings and treats for service users. The money provides items and services that aren’t covered by health care funding, but which can make a huge difference to people.”

The cards are on sale at trust cafes and patient bureaus, priced at 30p each or four for £1.

For more information contact Will Green via email at

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