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  • Wednesday 10am-4pm
  • Thursday 10am-4pm
  • Friday 10am-4pm
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Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
More information

Opening times

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 10am - 4pm
  • Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday 10am - 4pm
  • Sunday 10am - 4pm
More information

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  • Monday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Tuesday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Wednesday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Thursday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Friday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Saturday 9.30am - 5pm
  • Sunday Closed
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Marking International Men’s Day 2022

18/11/2022

In 2016 a resident survey commissioned by Museums Northumberland bait found that engagement in the arts amongst men in South East Northumberland, at 62%, was significantly lower than that of women. Over the past six years supporting more men to engage in arts and cultural activities has been one of our priorities and our research shows that engagement in art and cultural activities can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.

To mark International Men’s Day 2022 we spoke to Matthew who has been involved in The Bellwether Project.

Matthew talks about his journey with Northumberland Recovery Partnership and how being involved in art and creative activities has contributed to his recovery.

Read Matthew’s story…

Matthew being interviewed on camera for The Bellwether Project

“I’m Matthew, originally from just outside Wakefield in West Yorkshire. I am an alcoholic who has now been abstinent for around two and a half years, after around a quarter of a century of physical and mental addiction to alcohol at such a level that I was not expected to survive.

I entered treatment with Northumberland Recovery Partnership (NRP) in 2015 and began to learn how to live in an entirely different way, pretty much from scratch.

Emerging into sobriety for any period of time after so long meant learning to live again in an entirely different way.

I had to begin to discover who I actually was as an adult.

After primary treatment I began working as a volunteer for NRP and this is where I first became involved with Bait.

Volunteers work to support other people in treatment and also have the opportunity to work on projects based in the community as a bridge back to normal life. We can then begin to learn both to accept society ourselves and to again be accepted as a part of our communities.

We have generally existed alone outside our communities, to a greater or lesser extent, for a long time.

I have always enjoyed creative writing, but as a child I felt pretty hopeless at “art” in other forms and for this reason avoided it!

Trying different art forms again as an adult under the patient and expert tutelage of Trish and Nick (the artists INSTAR commissioned for The Bellwether Project) was an amazingly eye-opening experience for me. An essential part of Recovery is leaving your comfort zone, but I discovered that the new adult me, that I was just getting to know, found a great deal of pleasure and peace in these activities.

The life of most people can feel very rushed and pressured.

The life of an addict is one of utter chaos, constant dread and desperation.

The focus of the project on the beauty and vulnerability of our wonderful local environment fed me constant sources of inspiration to draw on in continuing to discover some inner peace and contentment.

It helped me enormously in slowly and steadily letting the wonder of normal life back in after shutting it out for so long.

Mindfulness and simply living well in the moment became very real to me, rather than just existing as a fashionable phrase.

Something must have gone well as I began the project as a volunteer for NRP and ended it as a paid up Community Development and Recovery Worker, a role in which I hope to continue to help develop projects as simply life changing as Bait was for me, with any willing partners!

I know that projects like this can have an absolutely invaluable effect, enriching the lives of all manner of people and are also simply enormous fun!

I would encourage any man to just give art and creative activities a whirl as, if you can lose your inhibitions, you will discover things that make you laugh, smile, and perhaps most importantly; think!”

Thank you to Matthew for sharing his personal experience of being involved with Museums Northumberland bait. We hope it encourages more men to get involved in art and creative activities in the future.

Image: Credit Timm Cleasby Photography, part of The Bellwether Project.

About Museums Northumberland bait

Museums Northumberland bait is part of the Creative People and Places programme, supported by Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council. We work in partnership to support more people in South East Northumberland to create and take part in inspiring and high quality arts experiences. All projects aim to build a stronger future with the people who live here.

Find out more at http://baittime.to/home

About Northumberland Recovery Partnership 

Northumberland Recovery Partnership (NRP) is a dedicated service for anyone in Northumberland, 18 years old or over, who is experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol. NRP is a partnership between Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Changing Lives and Turning Point.

NRP offers the following support which is tailored to help you on your recovery journey:

  • Abstinence programmes – group and community-based 12 step programmes
  • Harm reduction – safer injecting support and needle exchange
  • Medical support including prescription of substitute medications and supporting detoxification programmes
  • Dedicated Recovery Co-ordinator to motivate and support you through every stage of your recovery journey
  • Recovery support – ongoing services to help with your next steps into employment, housing and health

Find out more at Northumberland Recovery Partnership

About International Men’s Day 

On November 19, International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s wellbeing.

Find out more at https://internationalmensday.com/

Image: Credit Timm Cleasby Photography, part of The Bellwether Project.