For the last year, Creative Recovery’s arts and health practitioner Hayley Youell has been creating a series of wonderful and original and all-inclusive events under the banner, An Alternative Nite Out. The first Alternative Night Out took place at Aroma Cafe in Spring and was an instant success. The event was a platform for her group Uplift, which uses music and the creation of compositions to help those battling addiction to alcohol. The purpose of that event and the many following it, was to prove that you could go out and have a good time without having the hangover to deal with the morning after.
The Alternative Nite Out also importantly offers the opportunity for those who use the Creative Recovery groups to collaborate with local musical and artistic talent. Each event sees a headline act invited to come and perform, followed by an open mic session. The nights have seen many of the finest local acts perform, including Mike Mulholland from Goldsoul, Mynas, The Rolling Downhills and Majority Vote.
As the events have progressed they have seen collaborations with other arts and health groups. In September Creative Recovery invited Sheffield’s Signposts writer’s projects and some performance poets from Rotherham along.
Jo, 67 of Tankersly, has been a regular attendee of Creative Recovery groups for a while now. Jo originally met Hayley at an arts groups based in Hoyland a few years ago. When at 60, Jo was made redundant, she started to get panic attacks and suffered from anxiety. Hayley recommended she try stand-up and poetry as a way to beat the panic attacks. Now, Jo performs her poetry to audiences around the region, sells self-published books and hopes to raise money for the groups that helped her.
This month Creative Recovery collaborated with Knitswell. You might have seen Knitswell’s work before. They have been responsible for some of the Yarnbombing in Barnsley recently. Knitswell is a craft group run by the carers at Swanswell who in turn provide help and support for individuals and families coping with and in recovery from drug addiction.
A Stitch In Time: An Alternative Nite Out took place at The Cafe Bar at Barnsley’s The Civic and saw a mass knitting workshop take place where squares were created to form patchwork blankets, which were donated to Age UK. This was all complimented by a headline set from bluesgrass group The Jaywalkers, open mic sets from two fifths of Majority Vote and Lewis Ryan of acoustic folk band The Rolling Downhills, and a stall set up mother and daughter knitters and stitchers Gobo & Sock who showcased their knitted toys and fashion accessories.
These special events have not only done a fantastic job in highlighting issues surrounding addiction and mental health but have also proved that there is a big audience out there for arts based events such as these collaborative efforts; all of which have been over-subscribed, seeing new attendees of all ages each month.
In November, Alcohol Awareness Week will see a series of arts and health events called Paint the Town Red take over Barnsley, including efforts by both Creative Recovery and Knitswell. If you are interested in supporting the cause, feel free to contact via facebook. In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated with event news as soon as we can.
Words by Jason White. Photography by Roxanna Mitchell.