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Livewell Southend

Open Arts

Open Arts is a community based arts project, working across the county of Essex. We help people improve and maintain their own mental health and wellbeing, through creative learning, social inclusion and self expression.

All our participants are people aged 16 or older, who have either experienced mental health problems or are a carer.

Our courses include taster sessions in visual arts, such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, creative writing and crafts. We also offer drama, digital arts and photography courses that help develop new skills and confidence.

But most importantly, we offer a positive and productive environment that has been part of many people's recovery.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Jo Keay
Contact Position
Open Arts manager

Opening Times

When is it on

Please visit our web page for list of courses 

Other Details



Some of our courses offer free places. For others you may need to be eligible for a recovery budget, personal budget or carers budget. We can talk about what you'd like to do when you contact us.


Age Ranges
Referral required
Referral Details

We have an open referral system, you can self refer or if you prefer, any health or social care worker can refer you. Just ask them to contact us.

Other notes

As one of our participants you can enjoy:

ï‚· Gallery visits and creative experiences

ï‚· Opportunities to exhibit your work

ï‚· Links to further learning

ï‚· The option of accreditation

ï‚· Volunteer opportunities and research projects

ï‚· Community involvement

ï‚· Follow up studio placements at Hadleigh Art House - part of the Hadleigh Old Fire Station (HOFS) community arts and culture facility.

We are always delighted to have new people join us as volunteers. Our volunteers are highly valued as key members of the team. Please contact us to talk about what you could do, and find out how to apply.


An independent study by South Essex Service User Research Group (SESURG) at Anglia Ruskin University found:

ï‚· 90% of participants felt more positive, and said it improved their wellbeing

ï‚· 80% felt that their relationships with other people had improved as a result of the studio placement

ï‚· People felt less socially isolated, and reported improved self identity, confidence and choice.


National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards

2016 Open Arts ‘Highly Commended’ in the Partnership Work category

2015 and 2013 Winners of the Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.


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This service, organisation or event is listed for your information. With the exception of services offered directly by Southend-on-Sea City Council, inclusion on Livewell Southend does not confer or imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by Southend-on-Sea City Council. The Council can take no responsibility for the quality, reliability or accessibility of the service, organisation or event listed. You should thoroughly check the service or event, and the organisation running it, before deciding to take part or attend.

  •  Record created: 04 Nov 2019

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