‘After a cancer diagnosis, it is wonderful to be so absorbed in an activity that pushes any worries out of my mind’

‘Going to the weekly workshops I have found that I am more confident. I can now talk easily to other people. The sessions take my mind of other things and learning new skills is keeping my brain alive and wanting to learn more. This group is a weekly therapy for me, it is the best thing I have done for my well- being. I want to thank the people so much’

‘I have anxiety issues and it is nice to be in such a welcoming group where we are all accepted. It is also helpful to meet others and not feel isolated, knowing each of us come to the sessions for different reasons, and feeling the benefits of taking your mind off things for a while. The effects of the workshops have a wider impact for me. They have enabled me to focus again and use my hands, listen to instructions and channel my thoughts into doing a task – being distracted in a good way. Going regularly to this class has been like a training session for my mind, alleviating my depression’

‘I have gained confidence in and out of the group and formed new friendships, sometimes exchanging our different experiences in life. For those two hours you switch off from your problems and immerse yourself in learning a new skill, which helps me forget my aches and pains and difficulties in my life’

‘The sessions are invaluable, especially to people who have lots of problems, physical or otherwise. Time out from reality is so important and these classes provide that’

‘I have found the skills I have learned to be very therapeutic and a good way to relieve stress. Such a lovely way to forget all your problems for a few hours’

‘I have found the workshops very beneficial to my mental health. Like everyone, I have had my share of very unhappy experiences – much more than I ever imagined as a young girl. When I am at the classes the feeling of friendship and interest makes me happy and relaxed’

‘Zulay, Katie and Helen are fantastic! During the summer holidays we held regular arts and crafts sessions at Southport Community centre, of which their origami workshops were very popular  and enjoyed by all the family. Our weekly arts and crafts group has also enjoyed card making and learning more about the art of origami. The children all enjoyed the arts and crafts with Zulay and Helen and proudly showed off what they had made. Zulay and Helen’s arts and crafts sessions are bright, colourful and creative’.

Rachel Wheble. Community Organiser.   High Park Think Family Think Community.

‘We would love to be able to work with you both again, the 15 sessions that you have provided for us have been a fantastic success. All the Carers look forward each week to coming and learning a new skill, and making a new craft. All the feedback from Carers has been extremely positive.’

Louise Jones-Training Coordinator. Sefton Carers Centre. Waterloo

“Zulay, Kate and Helen have been running a variety of Art & Craft with the people of Brighter Mondays Club. They delivered sessions of Silk painting, decopatch, basic crochet, Origami card making and much more. And every time all participants enjoyed learning each of the skills. They made each session fun and helped each one to relax and express their creativity. Brighter Mondays is a 16 weeks programme, we run a taster activity each week. We hope that the girls will continue to deliver Art & Craft for our clubs in the future, and support our projects, we need experienced craft tutors like the girls. Well done to both of you.”

Soumaya Roach. Development Support Worker. Southport Community Centre. Brighter Living

Textile Collage at Primary Schools

‘Kate Cottam has a long association working with Our Lady of Lourdes with staff and children in school and with our parish community.  Kate is an excellent Art practitioner with whom we have always enjoyed working with.  The textile workshops she ran produced textile hangings and pictures of a very high standard.  Her expertise and talent supported our school in achieving Artsmark Gold status.  Within our foyer in school we proudly display a large textile hanging related to our Catholic ethos produced by children across school with Kate’s guidance and it is always complimented by new visitors to school. We as a school would recommend Kate without  reservation!’.

Mrs. M. C. Hillsdon. Headteacher.  Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Primary School. Southport.

‘Kate has worked with Linaker Primary School for many years during our annual Arts Week. She has produced some beautiful display work with the children, which lasts for many years. She has worked with all children from age 4 – 11years and her flexibility means she has been able produce anything from Tin Forests to a 4m high Totem Pole. Kate has a lovely manner with both staff and children and we hope to continue to work with her for many years to come’.

Rachel Thomas. Deputy Headteacher. Linaker Primary School. Southport.

Residential Care Homes

‘I have known Helen and Zulay for over two years. They visit our companies Care Homes and the clients look forward to the craft sessions. Helen and Zulay are friendly and polite to everyone. They cater the crafts to the needs of the clients and at the end of each session the client retains whatever endeavour they have completed. The sessions are fun and very well presented.’

Caroline Wright. Activities Coordinator. Dovehaven Group. Residential Care Homes, Southport.

‘The residents really look forward to and enjoy the sessions with the craft workshop. The girls are very  helpful and patient. The residents use what they have made to decorate their rooms or to give away as Gifts’.

Activities Coordinator. Peacehaven House, Care Home. Southport

‘Excellent. The girls are very helpful and understanding and have wonderful ideas. I feel very proud about what I am able to achieve’.

Brenda. Peacehaven Resident

Craft and Wellbeing

‘A few weeks after an inpatient admission to the Hesketh Centre (a psychiatric unit in Southport). I got in touch with Helen and Zulay, and started attending their Friday art group at Haigh Court in Southport. Not only have I learnt new skills in art and craft, I have also learnt to relax and have fun, and now look forward to Fridays. In short both Helen and Zulay have been invaluable in helping my long term and on going recovery’.

Andy King. Friday Art group at Haigh Court, Southport.

I really enjoyed the craft lessons and learnt a wide variety of new techniques. It was a lovely, warm relaxing atmosphere in the sessions’

Had a great time trying lots of new crafts. Sorry it had to end. Will miss all the friendly faces’  

Great class! Everything lovely I will miss our Tuesdays’.

Enjoyed very much hope it can continue’

Really enjoyed the course lovely girls will miss it’

Really enjoyable. Thanks for everything will really miss . All best wishes’