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Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company

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Women on community payback celebrate motherhood

Images of motherhood, an art exhibition created by a women’s Community Payback group, will be displayed at Newcastle’s Castle Keep to celebrate motherhood. The exhibition opens to the public on 11 July and will run until 22 August.

The group, which is run by Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company, was invited to take part in the art exhibition, and they embraced the project with great enthusiasm. Working with Linda Vusthoff, a local artist, the women focused on motherhood, considering what this means to them, their relationship with their own mother and children and the impact it has had on their lives. They have produced a short interpretation and silk paintings depicting images of motherhood.

Heather, a member of the CP women’s group, said: “I really enjoyed creating the silk painting and working with an artist, I never thought I would get a chance to do something like this.

“When we started I think we all felt unsure about our own abilities but Linda was very patient and was always available to answer our questions. We have learnt that we are not excluded from art and we can enjoy it as a way to express ourselves.”

Linda Vusthoff explained: “I noticed as the project developed, the women fully engaged with the process, and as a result they are delighted with the art work they have produced. It has been a pleasure to work with the women’s group and they should be very proud of their work.”

Community Payback is a court sentence which sees offenders work unpaid for the benefit of local communities, as well as developing new skills to support their rehabilitation and stop offending.

Women offenders work in different ways to men, and the group is one of several hubs where women can support each other and undertake constructive activities as part of the rehabilitative aspect of their sentence. This runs alongside the unpaid work, and the women undertake a range of work in and around the local area.

The group is called the boomerang gang, named by the women themselves as many continue to attend after they have completed their sentence, to continue to provide and receive support within the group. 

Many women who attend the women’s groups run by Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company need support to gain the confidence and skills necessary to turn their lives around. The art project for the Castle Keep is an excellent example of how a practical activity can help women to work together as a team, explore ideas and build their confidence to engage with others as they learn.

Dawn Harrison, community payback supervisor, Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company, said: “I am very proud of what the women have achieved and the beautiful pieces they have created. They have worked hard to produce an impressive display which reveals an insight into motherhood and their own experiences. The process has been extremely informative and motivational, helping the women to develop their skills to support changes in their own lives and break the cycle of offending.” 

July 14, 2014

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