Tata Steel donation for Ayrshire’s little artists

Future Van Goghs, Picassos and Dalis are in the making at The Little Art School, Ayr, which has a new art program for young carers thanks to funding from UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE).

UKSE, the Tata Steel subsidiary set up to assist communities in traditional steel areas, has supported the Scottish charity with a donation of £2,500.

The Little Art School primarily delivers art classes to people with dementia and their carers from art studios in Ayr, Girvan, Troon and Glasgow as well as giving lessons at nursing homes. In contrast, the grant from UKSE will allow a project especially for young carers from as young as eight years old. The initial idea came from one of the School’s art teachers, Jalana Thompson, who found comfort in immersing herself in art during the years she cared for her mother at a young age.

The young carers’ project will encourage participants to work as individuals and as part of a larger group, from carefully crafting their own art journals to working on canvas and learning to use various art mediums to express and manage their emotions.

The funding will purchase high quality art materials such as large canvases, acrylic paints and watercolours, as well as pay for trips to local art galleries and support teaching staff. The Little Art School Trust also aims to hold an end of project exhibition for the young carers and their families where their work can be exhibited and their stories told.

Susan Webb, Trust Development Coordinator at The Little Art School, said: “Art can be incredibly therapeutic and we believe the sessions we run for dementia patients and young carers make a huge difference in their lives.

“We’re extremely grateful to UKSE for the funding to further our young carers project which offers a way of escape from everyday life and an opportunity for self-expression. The group work will also allow them the build on their self-esteem as well as share their experiences with peers who are in similar situations.”

Anne Clyde, regional manager at UK Steel Enterprise, said: “The Little Art School offers a fantastic service to those who need it most. I’ve heard for myself the positive impact the charity has on people. Not only will this new project give young carers the much-needed time to focus on themselves, but it will enable them to use the skills they learn throughout life.”