A CHARITY that has been a lifeline for people struggling with addiction or mental health have been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award for their ongoing efforts during the pandemic.

Helen Boutle and Hayley Macfarlane, who co-founded Creative Recovery seven years ago in Barnsley, have been supporting those going through a tough time with creative projects.

Since 2010, the team have set up an arts cafe, recorded albums, created theatre for woodlands, made street art and exhibited across the borough.

“The past year has been tough but we are incredibly proud of how we have been able to adapt,” said Helen.

“Our team of artists have created lots of amazing online content, we’ve mailed artwork and creative parcels across Barnsley and kept our UPLIFT choir singing on Zoom.

“Thankfully, we’ve been able to raise funds to stabilise the charity so we are ready to welcome new people whose mental health has been impacted by long-term isolation, and we’ve started a new suicide prevention project called Things to Live For.”

Hayley added: “We know now more than ever how devastating loneliness can be.

“Even through lockdown, people tell us they feel connected knowing that they are part of something.

“People gain a lot from being involved in more ambitious creative projects too, they start believing that they can achieve things in their own lives, and feel a greater sense of hope, purpose and self-belief.

“It’s great to see people begin to open up and thrive, shedding the things that hold them down and moving forward in loads of ways.”

For its tireless efforts during the pandemic, Creative Recovery have landed a nomination at this year’s Proud of Barnsley awards for Charity of the Year.

Helen said: “To be nominated in a year during which we have come up against so many obstacles is very reassuring.

“We are inspired everyday by what people achieve and how supportive and accepting the community is.

“As a people-led organisation, we really are run on people power, so this recognises the work of our amazing trustees who have been on hand daily over the past year as well as the contributions and support of our artists, friends, partners and funders.”

Creative Recovery accepts self referrals. Contact Helen on 07833 936109 or email wearecreativerecovery@gmail.com.