Community Rail Lancashire is pleased to announce that a grant from the Community Rail Development Fund has been awarded to support a project called ‘Bonded Together with a Prayer Bead’.
The idea of Bonded Together with A Prayer Bead came about during a series of meetings in Blackburn that were facilitated by Near Neighbours, which is an initiative that aims to bring people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can collaborate together on projects that improve the local community in which they live.
Working with Near Neighbours, Arts2Heal developed an idea that would bring the diverse communities in Blackburn together. As many religious faiths use prayer beads Art2Heal’s idea is that people from the different faiths will each decorate a prayer bead. Each individual bead is 8 cm across – which on completion will go towards the aim of a 1000 long bead which will be nearly 100 metres in length.
Community Rail Lancashire was approached by Arts2Heal to be a partner for this project. CRL plans to work with Arts2Heal to help bring people together who have mental health issues and to expand the project to other communities such as Accrington and Burnley. As well as bringing people together to decorate their prayer bead, CRL will also introduce them to local rail travel. This will help them gain confidence in using the railway as a means to meet new people and take up employment opportunities away from their home town.
This creative project will break barriers and encourage new friendships, empowering individuals with confidence to start conversations in their communities. Some of the participants of the project have been trained to run the art workshops as facilitators by Art2Heal and these facilitators will now travel to different venues in order to encourage and facilitate people to participate in the project.
Arts2Heal is a small charity that was set up by Banu Adam to help and support people with issues of anxiety and depression through the medium of art. The primary aim is to use creativity to help people overcome mental health barriers to participating more fully in society, with the secondary objective to help build confidence and valuable employability skills. This will help people become more active in their local community and society at large as well as to look for employment in either a paid or voluntary capacity.