Latimer Community Art Therapy (LCAT) is a grass-roots community organisation which provides accessible professional mental health support through art psychotherapy as well as creative, activities to support physical, social and emotional development, in an inclusive, safe and inspirational space for the community. Evolving from the tragedy of Grenfell, LCAT has substantial first-hand experience in community recovery and post-disaster working with a strong therapeutic underpinning in all service delivery areas.
Art Psychotherapy is a form of psychological therapy that uses art materials within the context of a therapeutic relationship to support communication and the processing of difficult feelings. LCAT art psychotherapists work in a non-directive way, which means that the referred person can engage in the session at a pace that suits them. Their clinical services are for children, adolescents and adults in the community and schools, they span from parent and baby groups to older adult outreach therapy in people’s homes. This includes a therapy provision across 14 schools & nurseries providing vital early intervention for mental health. From 2017 – 2019 LCAT has seen 1,183 people in therapy delivering 10,996 art psychotherapy sessions with their network of 23 MA level qualified & experienced clinicians.
LCAT's Community Centre on the Henry Dickens estate is at the heart of their services, providing not just much-needed activities but meaningful employment and training for local residents. This thriving hub for the community provides children and youth services, facilitating community spaces, coffee mornings and physical activities. LCAT also developed disused spaces into dedicated therapy rooms, rare and much needed this allows for less stigma around mental health as young people grow up with this facility on their doorstep. The co-working and shared thinking between professionals in LCAT allow for a holistic multidisciplinary approach when working with vulnerable people. Henry Dickens Community Centre has over 840 service users accessing services more than 14,000 times between 2017 – 2019.
When Covid-19 struck London and schools and spaces began to close, LCAT moved all services on to virtual platforms. In the initial weeks all art psychotherapy went online, art packs were sent home to ensure children and adults had what they needed to access therapy from home. Alongside this the children and youth groups moved to online platforms offering children a safe space to connect. Yoga, Pilates and coffee mornings all became regular fixtures for adults at homes, providing familiarity during strange times. For those unable to access these virtual platforms LCAT ensured regular phone calls. They continued to deliver art packs and creative activities to families, providing much needed resources for children as well as concrete reminders that they are holding people in mind and have not disappeared, which is a vital message for a community that suffered previous trauma after the fire. LCAT also launched a HD TV YouTube Channel in order to reach out to their services users and supply content delivered by familiar faces. This has also been linked to online Zoom challenges and craft kit packs.
Just some of the lovely packs LCAT have sent out to children.
A Zoom group making daffodils from craft packs lead by Faye Murray their kids club activity co-ordinator
A member of LCAT said
“Your online classes have been invaluable during this time of social distancing and I was delighted when the additional Thursday class became available."
Other members have said:
“Well run, child focused services integral to our community” – A parent
“Thank you for all the inspiration” – A parent
"We just finished the Zoom group with the therapist and other children it was really lovely thank you" – A parent
"I am so proud of you guys whatever you’re doing I really appreciate it thank you so much, lets get connected, let’s get started" – A parent
"Your phone calls really help me: the carers can’t stay long because of the virus, so I can’t talk to them much" – An older adult (art therapy)
Susan Rudnik, the Founder and Co-Director stated "I am infinitely proud of our adaptability as an organisation in meeting the changing needs of the community, we have flexed and adapted to new ways of working, problem solved all sorts of issues from internet connections to safeguarding."
Please click here for their Digital Timetable.
Anyone interested in the activities of Latimer Community Art Therapy can visit their website for more details.
Supporter of LCAT