World Mental Health Day, which takes place this month, presents an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon mental ill-health, to think about how we can best fight against stigma and prejudice, and to discover what is being done to promote mental well-being for everybody.

To mark the occasion, Orb Community Arts made the short journey from its premises in Knaresborough to Harrogate Library, where it staged a celebratory “takeover” event on Wednesday 7th October. This showcased the sort of things that we do, on a daily basis, to stimulate a greater sense of mental well-being through creative activity.


The day started with an art class, led by our regular teacher Sharon. While her group worked together on some charcoal sketches, visitors enjoyed a display of artworks that had been created in the weekly classes at Orb’s Knaresborough HQ. Some of these pieces had previously been displayed at Orb’s summer exhibition (“Progression – A New Year’s Work”), which the library generously hosts for us each year.


Later, there was live music from Orb’s Field Orchestra of Found Sound, who presented a self-composed multi-media piece, “Life As We Know It”. This combined field recordings made in the Knaresborough area with live music and thematically linked visual projections.

The work was devised during the Orchestra’s Thursday evening sessions, which are open – free of charge – to anyone in our area who feels they would benefit from a well-being boost. Other weekly sessions include a Monday evening singing group, a Thursday evening arts and crafts group, and a new Saturday gardening group, which has been made possible thanks to support from the Duke of York Community Initiative.


This was followed by a solo acoustic performance from local singer-songwriter Jamie Bevan, who sang selections from his forthcoming EP and a new single, called Docey Broke. The single is being released to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Fund, and it will be available from late October.


Commenting after the event, Orb’s project manager Leon Fijalkowski said that “it was fantastic to being a little entertainment and a serious message into the heart of Harrogate.” Leon hopes that it will now inspire more people to get in touch with the charity, whether as service users or as new volunteers.