Open day at Studio Upstairs in effort to boost their Big Give

Art is doubling up on charity donations at the Studio Upstairs

Croydon’s arts venue Studio Upstairs is gearing up to double its supporters’ Christmas donations by taking part in the country’s biggest match funding campaign, The Big Give.

Now in its 12th year, The Big Give’s Christmas Challenge begins on December 3 and runs for just seven days. Throughout the week, participating charities will see their supporters’ donations matched (up to £50,000 per organisation), doubling the impact of their gifts.

As part of this campaign, Studio Upstairs in Croydon is having an open studio from noon till 5.30pm next Tuesday, December 3, where anyone can pop in to see the wonderful artwork on display and the studio in action.

Studio Upstairs is a registered arts and mental health charity. They have studios in Dalston, Bristol and Croydon. The Croydon studio, on Drummond Road, just behind Centrale, is open twice a week for their members, when there are two qualified art therapists present.

The members are usually people who struggle with mental health difficulties and emotional distress, and are often isolated from their own community.

The studio is a therapeutic and supportive community, and is a creative, shared and safe space to attend every week. The ambition of the charity is to create a network of sustainable and safe studios available to all who need them. They encourage their members to develop their creative identity and steer away from the stigma to view them as “people with mental health issues”.

“I became a member at the Studio Upstairs after having a mental health crisis when I had to stop working,” one former member of the studio said.

“I was feeling really lost when I came across the gallery space in Croydon, I was so inspired by the artwork and started to get as involved and engaged as possible.

The Studio Upstairs provides art therapy sessions twice every week

“The studio managers and members were very welcoming, I quickly felt sure this is the place I needed to be. I had ignored my own creative skills for so long and now I had a space to stretch and explore while also being held in a therapeutic community.

“Since being a member I have created the best artwork I’ve ever made, met some of the most interesting and motivating people, and started exhibiting my own paintings regularly. I’m now looking for ways to share what the Studio Upstairs gave me with others, recovery through creativity.”

The charity is one of very few organisations in the sector to recognise that enduring conditions of distress, often resulting from a complex set of factors, require longer-term support as opposed to sporadic and limited interventions. Evidence shows that the overwhelming pressures to apply short-term approaches effectively leads to relapses and paradoxically presents much higher cost to individuals and to society as a whole.

Studio Upstairs is aiming to raise income and secure vital funding for charitable services for 2020 and beyond through The Big Give, which matches donations through partnerships with more than 20 funding Champions, including Reed Foundation, The Childhood Trust, Four Acre Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To find out more about The Big Give or how to donate, watch this 30-second video or visit the website by clicking here.

Studio Upstairs Croydon is at 1A Drummond Street, CR0 1TT. Tel: 020 8616 5440

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