We have joined forces with a community organisation in Bolton to offer the first in a series of creative workshops to improve mental health and wellbeing, ahead of World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day.

Over the next 12 months, homelessness charity Emmaus Bolton will host regular craft sessions that use recycled art and craft materials, furniture and other treasures on sale at the Drill Hall Store and Scrap Store shops off Fletcher Street in Bolton, in partnership with not-for-profit, community interest company Breakdown Bolton.

Emmaus Bolton provides a home, meaningful work and support to people with experience of homelessness. People supported by the charity work alongside volunteers to repurpose donations at our onsite Recycling Centre to go on sale in the charity’s shops. Social enterprise is key to the Emmaus model as it provides a source of work and training as well as an income to maintain the charity’s work.

Reusing and upcycling

Breakdown Bolton works to improve people’s health and wellbeing through art and expression, focusing on increasing accessibility to art for people with lived experience of mental health and substance misuse issues.

Jennifer Gilmour, Director of Breakdown Bolton, said: “We work with vulnerable adults and children almost exclusively, but the courses we are running at Emmaus Bolton are open to everyone. Emmaus Bolton is the perfect partner, because there is an overlap with the charity and the clients we work with. We have a similar ethos with upcycling and reusing things. We like to go to other places outside of our studio in Bolton because it opens up a safe place for the people we work with to go to.”

The first course will teach sewing skills, with more planned teaching upcycling, screen printing, upholstery and art. These will be announced throughout the next 12 months by Emmaus Bolton and Breakdown Bolton on Eventbrite and social media.

Better mental health

Director of Emmaus Bolton, Tony Stephenson, said: “Mental health issues are one of the major causes of homelessness and consequences of being homeless. This new partnership is an important way of improving mental health and wellbeing for people living in the wider community and we’re very excited to see the results.”

A survey of homeless people conducted by Homeless Link found one in eight reporting some kind of mental health issue, with 45 per cent diagnosed with a mental health issue, compared with 25 per cent among the general population.


If you would like to host a creative course at Emmaus Bolton, call in to see us off Fletcher Street in Bolton or get in touch on 01204 398056