This week is mental heath awareness week, so we wanted to share the work of the brilliant Mindful Photo project and how it has supported both Novus colleagues and our learners to come together and bond as a group (vital to support loneliness – this year’s theme), but also to start to understand the benefits of mindfulness for your mental health.
Looking at learning from a different perspective
The Mindful Photo project is a way of linking mindfulness and photography to allow people to see things from a different perspective and look at life through a different lens. The idea is to encourage you to take time out of your week, appreciate the smaller things in life and slow down.
The sessions have been run a couple of times with colleagues, giving them time out of their working week to enjoy this break and connect with each other, but a few weeks ago we also started to run the project at HMP Thorn Cross, giving our learners some time in a group situation to take photos within the grounds and discuss how the mindfulness made them feel.
Being able to look at things from a different perspective, learn new skills and interact with other people in a constructive way is vital for our learners as they understand how to move forward in their rehabilitation, ready for release and this project is giving them the headspace and understanding to be able to do that.
Here are some of the quotes from our learners:
“I think the course was good and worth doing because it opens your mind to things around you that you would normally never notice.”
“This course has been an enjoyable experience. Taking part is something outside the normal regime. It offers opportunities to have new and interesting experiences. Spending time with some lads I already know, some I didn't and Joe and John [the subject leaders] was good for socialising skills.
“This course was a good course which opened my mind to new things seeing them in a different light.”
Here at Novus, our arts and enrichment programme is often the first stepping stone into getting our learners into education, making a difference for their future and we’re really excited to try out lots of new ideas like this one, helping our learners to make changes and supporting their mental health for the future.