Lucy’s Traineeship Journey
How Lucy's darts traineeship transformed her personal and artistic outlook
Lucy’s darts journey
Lucy began her journey at The Point as a participant in 2017. In her fight to recover from mental illness and addiction, she made the decision to move back to her hometown of Doncaster. Lucy’s Dad recommended that she attend Creative Directions at The Point – our free, weekly arts programme for adults experiencing mental ill-health. Lucy began to attend sessions – tentatively at first – and became a regular and enthusiastic participant as the weeks went on.
I remember being amazed that it [The Point] had been around for so long, but I’d not lived in Doncaster for so many years. I remember coming to Creative Directions on a Thursday morning… and I could only stay for a little bit because of extreme anxiety…and I could only stay for those couple of hours, then eventually I started to build my time up.
Lucy told us that coming to Creative Directions as a participant enabled her to reconnect with her natural creativity and love of art, having grown up in a creative household. Moreover, with experience in her previous career as a Nursery Manager, getting involved in creative activity with others came naturally to her. When a darts artist delivered a block of textile workshops for Creative Directions sessions, Lucy found that she was drawn in, being able to work with a medium she was comfortable with, and began staying for both the morning and afternoon sessions held at The Point.
“I’d always been very creative from being young… it was a part of my life, although it wasn’t my chosen art form until recent years. It was something that I always used in my work, but I worked with children so that was my chosen career path.”
Lucy told us that The Point has always been a special place to her. As a participant in recovery from mental ill-health and addiction, Lucy found the calm, creative environment of the building an essential aspect of her artistic progression and journey towards recovery.
I found it a really peaceful place… the sun used to beam through the window and I often just used to come and sit… It’s a place that helped me to manage my life, I suppose. With the chaos in my head, being in a calm environment really did help.
From participant to volunteer
As Lucy became more involved as a participant at The Point, and more confident in her sense of self, she found that becoming a volunteer seemed like a natural progression. Having worked with children and young people in her previous career, volunteering on darts’ Arts & Education programmes enabled Lucy to bring her experience and creativity together, whilst learning more about participatory arts delivery.
“It was just a natural step, because the severity of my illness really meant that I had to take baby steps in doing things because I’d damaged my brain and my body so much. It just seemed to flow. And Sophie [darts’ Volunteer Coordinator] was so gentle… she was always very encouraging.”
Lucy’s traineeship experience
As Lucy regained her confidence and returned regularly to The Point as a volunteer and participant, she started making more connections to other artists and creatives in Doncaster. She joined the new Doncaster Creative Network, secured a studio, and began to really develop her practice. When the opportunity to apply for a traineeship came up, applying seemed like a huge next step in her creative journey. Lucy successfully applied to darts’ traineeship programme, running from January – March 2023. She told us that, at first, uncertainty and a lack of confidence meant that she was hesitant to apply, yet saw the traineeship as a unique opportunity and a natural progression.
“It just seems to be ‘this is the place that I am meant to be’. So, when the traineeship came up, it was something that I’d always wished would happen.”
Lucy’s personal and artistic development
Throughout the traineeship period, candidates work alongside darts’ team of highly-skilled and experienced professional artists – observing, learning and taking part in participatory arts practice and delivery. At first, Lucy found the process of sharing her practice and traineeship experience to be challenging, as it meant that she had to confront insecurities and share her process, yet found it to be a valuable and empowering experience, too.
Even though the end product of being a facilitator is the same, everybody’s journey is totally led by their own interest, by their character. I think that darts is such an inclusive setting, and staff team as well, that it gives everybody the space just to flow… Under the traineeship, I’ve been able to grow so that I can go out into Doncaster and do so many other things, but it’s all because of here…