Wednesday, 18 December 2013

End of year volunteer lunch

Fun yesterday with Andromaco showing us how to make Arepas and a shared lunch for Tinsae and Nesrin's last women's group day at SOLA and festive times...

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

New Art Therapy programme for women

We are beginning our second phase of new Art Therapy In The Community delivery for Liverpool residents.

This new programme is a 12-week group specifically for women, with a focus (but not exclusively) on those from refugee and BME communities.

This is an enhancement to the current Art Psychotherapy programme Adele Spiers- Art Psychotherapist ( is delivering for 1-2-1 intervention at SOLA.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Today's art drop-in

What a great session. From seeing an old face pop back in all the way from Venezuela- hello again Andromaco and welcome back- to Geetha learning to draw skeletons and body forms, right the way through the Sirwan making us laugh as usual and working with pencil drawing for portraiture.

And a little messy missy happily working play-dough into some wonderful shapes.

Another great session!

Meeting up with friends before our next programme together in Jaunary 2014

Had a lovely meet up today with Liverpool African Elders Association at their annual Christmas Meal.

It was so wonderful to reconnect with old friends and see everyone so happy and energized. It's brilliant to think that this is now a partnership of over 6 years with the group.
We are looking forward to delivering a new programme of Art Therapy with the group from January 2014 as part of a shared Dementia and mental wellbeing focus.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Arts drop-in

Great art drop in yesterday for creative adults from Liverpool's refugee communities. Here's some of Sirwan's recent work...

Celebrating an amazing person who has inspired generations and lived by his convictions- the remarkable Nelson Mandela

In our minds, hearts and actions lives on a person for whom words cannot say enough.

And for people who are still fighting for justice and freedom, those enslaved by persecution around the world...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Festive fun at Awesome Liverpool's Christmas party!

Great night last night at Awesome Foundation Liverpool's Chritsmas party. Met old and new friends. Happy to be working with HeartBeat and grateful to Free Cakes for Kids Liverpool for supporting us for Healthy Inclusion Women's Group Christmas Party in a few weeks! Loved the ukelele band and looking forward to more collaborations over the next year!

Lamlam wearing gorgeous Eritrean styled hair again!

Once again Lamlam wore the most gorgeous Eritrean hair braiding at Healthy Inclusion Women's Group on Monday.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Brilliant 1st percussion and sound session today

There was a great turnout for the 1st percussion and sound session today in collaboration with HeartBeat. In all 11 men and women form refugee and other local resident communities  from the UK and around the world came together through making music, laughing our hearts out and enjoying a shared experience.

A great time had by all and looking forward to next week. 

There are still some places left so why not join us?!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Percussion & sound sessions starting Friday 22nd November 2013

SOLA and HeartBeat are collaborating for free music making sessions- that's instruments, sound making, voice, anything goes really. 

Sessions are open for people from refugee and wider communities to share, experiment, experience and explore the wonders of music and music making together.

Sessions start Friday 22nd November at SOLA (Toxteth, Town Hall, High Park Street, L8) and will run initially for 5 weeks.

There is also a wee bit of travel support for people from refugee communities- for as long as the bus tickets last anyhow.

Contact us if you need anymore info or want to confirm you are joining us...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Awesome Foundation Awards presentation

Here's proof Adele resident Art Therapist at SOLA and Manager, does wear a dress (sometimes) and did present at The Awesome Awards!

We are proud to receive the award and begin our Group Art Therapy programme very soon.

Monday, 4 November 2013

SOLA is November's Awesome Foundation award winner!

Adele and Sam from SOLA made a pitch this evening for an award from The Awesome Foundation's Liverpool programme...and....drum roll.... SOLA is this month's  grant winner!
Great news for us to be able to evolve our Art Therapy in the Community programme; for those most in need through  art psychotherapy in the community and FREE!

Thanks Awesome!

SOLA @ Platforma Festival- delivering exhibition, crafts stall, Presentation and Workshop!!! Wow :D

SOLA had an amazing time at Platforma Festival this year; . So glad we were invited and able to take part. Many thanks to CAN ( and Counterpoints Arts ( for organising the festival this time round, for supporting our travel and inviting us to deliver. What didn't we do? From delivering a presentation with Humberto Velez and some of the SOLA crew for Friday's Plenary, Adele Spiers SOLA's resident Art Therapist delivering a workshop on Art Therapy in a refugee context, craft stall by Healthy Inclusion women's group SOLA facilitates and exhibitions by SOLA folk.
Apparently we took the largest group along. Proud to share solidarity for refugee arts, social action and change making through creativity.

Saw some amazing art, heard some great tunes and experienced inspiring creative collaborations and visual stimulations.

Laughed together, sighed together and danced together and had 2 great visits to Wilmslow Road to eat together!

More photos to follow

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Visit to Liverpool's Urban Farm

Great time at Rice Lane Urban Farm Monday with the women's group we're facilitating for Healthy Inclusion. Bring on more fun days like this, rain and all!!! 

Thanks to the Black Environmental Network for supporting the visit and Rice Lane Urban Farm for the food, friendship and all round kindness of the experience. Everyone loved the sheep and the goat. The pigs made us laugh and the chickens got the kids running around (not chasing them but trying to keep up!). The cows were very interested in what we could feed them, Alfie the rabbit put up with us for only so long and the guinea pig was pretty tolerant. Loads of great ideas flying around now about more links with the urban farm. What a great facility in Liverpool and for Liverpool.

Thanks guys! Fab day out :D

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Celebrating World Mental Health Day 2013

Great day at The University of Liverpool's Mental Wealth Fest. Thanks SOLA vols for supporting & sharing about mental wellbeing!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Celebrating mental health and wellbeing

SOLA is at Mental Wealth Fest, University of Liverpool tomorrow, sharing the importance of mental health and wellbeing for uni students.

Pop down and see us if you are around...

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Art Therapy In The Community

We have started the new brief programme of Art Therapy and are grateful to Trafford Hall DIY Fund for providing the first bit of funding towards this.

This is our 2nd Art Therapy programme coming under our 'Art Therapy In The Community' offer. This next stage of provision will run for 12-weeks, between October 2013 and January 2014.

We will be offering opportunity for both individual and group work.

This brief intervention programme focuses on supporting people from black and minority communities in Liverpool. Specifically, we are looking to engage people who are;
  •  currently not under NHS Mental Health services
  •  being discharged from NHS Mental Health services
  • refugees or asylum seekers

The programme will be delivered by our experienced arts practitioner and now qualified Art Therapist, Adele Spiers.

The Art Therapy Drop-In Studio, will be accepting referrals from support agencies, health services and community projects from mid October. Watch this space for more info... 

NOTE: The individual sessions are currently full, but people can still be referred for individual support, although currently this would be charged at a reduced community rate. Just email or call us to find out more.

Working with volunteers for better awareness of mental health illnesses and distress has already begun, with 2 of a 3 x 1/2 day training programme run by Adele.

Volunteers have already commented on how much better they are aware of and understand Art Therapy and it's benefits. As well as this, volunteers have been able to explore how mental health and psychological difficulties can evolve, how mental distress can be experienced and supported, and the different types of mental health problems that we can experience.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Welcome Samiullah!

SOLA has a new Trustee, Samiullah Nowzady. Samiullah joined us as a partiicpant a good few years ago and has gone from joining in, to volunteering and now a Trustee. What a fab journey!

A warm welcome and many thanks for your commitment and support. Looking forward to the journey ahead...

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Cheerio not goodbye to Annie a long time committed Trustee...

A big THANK YOU sooo much to Annie for all your support over the years as a SOLA Trustee. We are sad to see you go but really happy you will focusing on your baby bump wee girl!!! Congratulations :-D

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thursday drop-in arts group

We used to run a Thursday drop-in arts group for people recovering from mental distress or people from the refugee communities.
Although we don't have a group running at the moment, we still have Glen and Sirwan who drop-in and make art and chat, oooh and have a chocolate biscuit or two!
Here are two pictures they have recently been working on...



Monday, 23 September 2013

Another great session with Liverpool Refugee Womens' Group today

 Today Lead Volunteers in training, Tinsae and Nesrin, worked with key volunteers and participants at Liverpool Refugee Womens' Group to support women and young children in need.

With over 15 women and 8 
children joined by 6 volunteers, 
the session was lively and dynamic with activities ranging from food making and sewing to volunteering and socialising.

Once again thanks to Healthy Inclusion for providing opportunity to work with the women and support empowerment through opportunity, skills development and a safe drop-in space.

Monday, 16 September 2013

New Art Therapy programme

Thanks to Trafford Hall DIY grant funding, Rennie's Arts & Crafts art materials contributions and SOLA ARTS in-kind and volunteering support, we're able to offer our 2nd Art Therapy in the Community programme.
The project will be run by an Art Therapist and SOLA volunteers.

This will be a 12-week programme for people predominantly from minority black communities to access a Group Art Therapy Drop-In and the offer of 1 x Individual Art Therapy support.

SOLA is the only provision in Liverpool and Merseyside offering Art Therapy in the community and we are really enthusiastic to be extending this service for another 12-week period.

Our aim is to eventually have a rolling Art Therapy in the Community programme to be supporting people from different communities and particular backgrounds or needs for healing of the mind and soul for improved mental well-being and quality of life. This second short-term programme is a great start towards our goal.

If you would like any further information about the programme either watch this space or contact us at; or 0151 726 8440.

Donations towards making this a longer term reality are always welcome.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Great afternoon out at St. Luke's Church

Some people from SOLA went to see a great performance today at St. Luke's Church in Liverpool City Centre, organised by Urban Strawberry Lunch and a fantastic group of young adults.

The performance involved drumming, rapping, music, singing and drama about being a young adults and not being taken seriously in terms of being able to move on in their careers and lives.
Well done guys, really good performance!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Garston Park Mural

Remembering the mural SOLA was commissioned by Merseyside Youth Association and Friends of Garston Park to work with local people to create, in collaboration with 2 other local artists from Tag Art and Redberry Arts and various groups in Garston.
This year's lovely warm weather has reminded us of the fun and creativity had whilst creating Garston Park Mural.

The images explore historic and significant landmarks around Garston, creating a landscape of the area. Some groups also created boards that best represent their group's interest in the area. For example the bottom picture shows the local Family History project with a family history tree made of images of hands from the people of Garston for the leaves. Beautifully poetic.

Check it out if you go along Brodie Avenue towards Garston, Liverpool.
The mural goes around the football cages, on the side of the car park next to the Lifestyles centre.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Come on... join us!

Time to deliver plant pot making from recycled paper and natural dyes at Fern Grove Community Garden.

Join us but be quick as it starts at 10am (10  minutes) and runs until 1pm. Seed bombing at the end of the session as our finale...

Monday, 19 August 2013

Eco-art workshops at Fern Grove Community Garden

We had a great time making around 100 seed bombs and moss art on 8th August. Around 30 young people and adults joined in, shared skills, learnt new ways of making environmentally friendly arts and had a good time.

Some seed bombs were thrown last Sunday and the rest lay in wait to be thrown on 27th August!

We also made a moss art sign for the garden. We wait to see if the moss will grow...
We'll keep you posted.

Adios Andromaco and hope to see you very soon!

Unfortunately, we have had to say farewell to one of our volunteers Andromaco as he has returned to Venezuela. BUT, we hope to see him very soon and explore his creative talents in crafts, jewellery and Venezuelan mural painting.
Hope you are doing well back home Andromaco!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Welly Garden

More fantastic pics of the bug box and kite making workshops on Tuesday.

Remember, if you live around Fern Grove or Lodge Lane there is Moss Graffiti, recycled paper pot making and seed bomb making tomorrow...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

An environmentallly inspired work of art for an aspiring young artist

Impromptu art piece created by Adam. He noticed that the weed was coming through the paper cut out and thought, "this is like a piece of art". And it is a piece of art.

An inspired young artist!
Join us next Friday 10-1 and 2-5 at The Welly Garden for Moss Graffiti, Seed bombs and pots made from recycled paper...

The Welly Garden - Environmental Arts Workshops

So glad the weather kept nice for us today at Fern Grove Community Garden (aka The Welly Garden) in partnership with Granby Toxteth Development Trust.

Bug boxes and kites made from recycled wood and plastics. Brilliant fun! 21 little people and 8 adults popping by to enjoy...

Join us for more photo updates of other summer projects at;

WOMAD was boss, now onto environmental art workshops. Join us!

Great fun at WOMAD again this year. New faces and old. Already looking forward to next year!
We'll share some photos with you over this week...

In the meantime, for those young people living by Fern Grove, Toxteth we'll be doing environmental arts workshops over this week and end of August. We're partnering again with Granby Toxteth Development Trust and are ready come rain or shine.

Tomorrow is Bug Box making and kites & parachutes from recycled plastic bags.
Joining us? 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

WOMAD here we come! (please don't rain)

Can't believe it is this time of year again and we are off to WOMAD festival tomorrow!!!
Looking forward to sharing time with the SOLA team, well those who can make it, and enjoying the vibes.
We'll be running children's art workshops with a cultural twist as usual- flying carpets from Eritrea and Venezuela and kites- all using recycled plastic bags.
We'll show you the result after the weekend...

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Another enhancement to our work- Art Therapy

SOLA's Lead Artist, Adele Spiers, has been training as an Art Therapist (also known as Art Psychotherapist) for the past 3 years. Having undertaken an Art therapy placement at SOLA since March this year, we are pleased to tell you that as of today Adele is a qualified Art Therapist. Well done!!!

This is fantastic for Adele and for SOLA.

We are now able to offer a full range of creative activity including community arts, creative industries development support, arts training, diversity arts and an enhancement to our provision being Art Therapy.

If you are interested in finding out more about this service, just drop us a line on; or 0151 726 8440.

Welcome to our new team members!

SOLA has 3 new volunteers who we would like to introduce to you...


Andromaco & Luis

As usual our volunteers come form a great variety of backgrounds. Our new volunteers, well actually they've been with us for a while but it's time to introduce you, come from Syria, Venezuela and Spain. We are lucky!
Welcome guys and enjoying working with you :-)