Pop Up Art In Downpatrick Offers Creative Therapy

Pop Up Art project provides creative therapy in South Down with Housing Executive backing

Pop Up Art project provides creative therapy in South Down with Housing Executive backing

A project providing creative therapy and counselling for people affected by mental illness, addiction and social isolation is helping Housing Executive tenants in South Down.

Life Change Changes Lives (LCCL) located in Market Street in Downpatrick, offers sessions in furniture up-cycling and is one of many projects which has benefitted from funding through the Housing Executive’s Sustaining Tenancies Grant Funding Programme.

Applications to the Sustaining Tenancies fund are still open and groups can apply for grants of up to £100,000 until October 20, 2023, at:


Ailish Teague, LCCL’s Project Manager, said: “Pop up Art is a creative therapy project for those affected by mental illness, addiction, social isolation, and suicidal ideations.

“Funding of £50,000 over two years from the Housing Executive has helped pay for staff and volunteer costs over that period.

(l-r) The Housing Executive’s Good Relations Officer Edel Curran with Project Manager Ailish Teague

“We offer counselling, peer mentoring, training and the opportunity to socialise in a safe and welcoming environment.

“Upscaling furniture destined for landfill not only gives new life to the furniture but also builds the self-esteem of the person completing the artwork.

“Furniture is then sold in our social enterprise shop with 100% of the profits reinvested in the project.

“Our philosophy is that whilst you are upscaling the furniture you’re giving it a purpose and rebuilding your own self in the process.

“We believe taking nothing and making something out of it can affect the same change in people.

“We’re so grateful for the funding from the Housing Executive and urge other groups to consider too if they could also benefit from a Sustaining Tenancies Grant.”

Details have now been announced of the latest Sustaining Tenancies Grant Funding Programme 2023-25, which will see an investment of over £3 million in the voluntary, community and charitable sector over the next three years.

Emma Geddis, Sustaining Tenancies Grant Funding Programme Manager, said: “First introduced in 2021, the programme was developed to ensure that Housing Executive tenants are fully supported.

“The aim is to create more resilient, sustainable tenancies in the short, medium and long term, and in particular, to help vulnerable customers at greater risk of tenancy breakdown.

“To date, we have invested approximately £1.5 million which has supported 36 projects across Northern Ireland, which in turn have provided valuable support to our tenants.

“We are now encouraging organisations in the voluntary, community and charitable sector to apply for funding for grants between £5,000 and £100,000 for projects that will help Housing Executive tenants.”

“We have identified a series of priority funding areas for this, the first of three funding rounds, and would particularly welcome applications for projects which address these issues.”

The priority funding areas include:

• Projects that help to alleviate the impacts of the Cost-of-Living crisis on Housing Executive tenants.

• Mental Health and Wellbeing of Housing Executive Tenants / their households.

• Practical support / resources for managing and maintaining a Housing Executive tenancy.

• Sustaining tenancies sustainably – projects that support Housing Executive tenants to manage their tenancies or engage with their community and reduce their carbon footprint.