People recovering from mental ill health have transformed their gym area at Forest Close, Middlewood with some locally inspired wall art.

A team of service users and Occupational Therapists have worked together over a number of weeks to transform the gym space with bright sunshine wall art. The group really inspired each other and people who don’t normally get involved in art activities took time out to join in with the project.

Inspired by street art in Kelham Island during a walking art tour in 2021, the group spotted a sunshine mural that incorporated street furniture. It effectively hid a utility box so it was part of the picture. The group decided they wanted to use the same technique in their gym that had unsightly radiators.

Speaking about the project Richard Holford, an occupational therapist with Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our sunshine wall art has really reinvigorated our gym space. We don’t have any natural lights so by using art we have made this a bright and sunny spot to inspire our service users to hit the gym and stay healthy.

“Everyone pitched in and got involved in this project. When we visited Kelham Island earlier this year to look at street art as a group, I had no idea we would end up creating our own art here at Forest Close. That is the beauty of working with our service users, they really take a lead in telling us what kind of activities they are interested in.
“The sunshine wall inspired people who do not usually exercise to engage in physical activity both by walking around as part of the street art tour and through making the gym a collaborative space by encouraging services to help plan and paint the wall of the gym.

“The sunshine wall isn’t the only activity we do. We enjoy writing and reading poetry together, we’ve had a go at making films and thrown in some drama performances too. I hope that through these activities our service users gain confidence and new skills, so they can take their newfound confidence and interests with them on their recovery journeys.”