I was shaking the first time I came to a workshop at Watts Gallery – I was scared. But now I can come here and am happy, very happy here. Sometimes I don't feel good about things but sometimes I do and especially when I've had time to get my hands messy with clay and make my strange looking pots. That fact that I am happy here gives me hope that I can be happy more in my life. Simply being with people is good.
Art for All Community Learning Programme participant from Opportunities
Opportunities is a project supporting parents and families of children with additional needs, as well as those who are socially isolated in Surrey, including in Hale, Ash, Ockford Ridge and Loseley. The project works to build participants' employability, skills and confidence with a view to returning to work. Opportunities has been bringing groups to Watts Gallery - Artists' Village since 2012.
This year's highlights:
The students particularly like working with clay and were pleased with the outcome of their efforts and gradually didn't need as much encouragement or support to attend the sessions. It was excellent to see the students relaxed and keen to participate in the course each week. To see the confidence and self-belief of the students grow was amazing, and for some, to travel to a location like Watts Gallery was very satisfying in helping them to become more able and stronger people. In addition to be able to learn new skills and communicate with members of staff from the Gallery, has given greater determination to attempt other new challenges and thus become a stronger person and move forward in life.
Carol McFarlane, Opportunities Project Co-ordinator