After a serious accident resulting in a nervous breakdown, professional artist Duncan has developed a passion for helping those with mental health issues.

Following his recovery, the professional artist regularly accompanies a group of Woking Mind clients to The Lightbox for a guided tour of a current exhibition. The partnership between the two organisations, Open Mind, provides relaxed monthly tours for its participants in a bid to foster inclusion and participation.

“One lady, in particular, is very quiet. She sits, she listens – and she wouldn’t say boo to a goose before coming here! But now,” Duncan smiles, “she speaks to me – simple as that. She knows I’m going to ask her which painting or artwork is her favourite, so she prepares. She has a look around, she finds her answer, and she tells me.”

“This lady will always need to be cared for. She may never fully integrate into society – but that does not mean she can’t have a good quality of life. And she gets that, here.”

“The Open Mind sessions really bring people out of their shells. They’re happy, vibrant, community events, and they’re healthy. Art brings people together, and just sparks something inside them,” Duncan continues. “Conversation is never lacking on these trips. Once you get them going, they just don’t stop! The art triggers something – reality, awareness – and they’re provoked.”

“Believing in people is so important, and that’s a large part of these trips. Some of us might be scruffy, or not very well dressed, but we’re still wanted,” he adds. “You believe in us, here. We’re welcome, we’re accepted, and we’re important.”

Your Membership, ticket purchases and donations help to fund our Art and Wellbeing programme, which includes Open Mind, so groups such as Woking Mind can continue to enjoy art, feel valued and effectively integrate into society.