Creative Writing for Wellbeing
We are looking for forward-thinking funders who believe in the benefit of creativity, to help us to pilot an innovative, low-cost service for people living with MS.
Read on to find out more about the services already provided at the MS Therapy Centre Lothian, and how creative writing could fit in...
Around 1 in 500 people in Scotland have MS.
Currently, there is no cure.
That means that people living with MS have to find ways to manage their symptoms, day in, day out. The symptoms are fluctuating and unpredictable - no two people with MS are the same, and no two days are the same. Bladder control, mobility, vision, memory, speech, balance, and fatigue can all be affected.
Help is available
The MS Therapy Centre provides holistic, person-centred support for people living with MS. A range of services are provided on a self-referral basis, empowering people with MS to actively manage their lives.
We already provide:
Pilates and yoga
Information and support
You can find out more about the centre on our website: www.mstc-lothian.org.uk
A gap in services
Like many chronic conditions, MS comes with emotional challenges as well as physical. MS can bring unexpected and unwanted change that can be very difficult to come to terms with.
There is a clear need to create time and space in which people with MS can tell their stories, free from judgement or expectation. That's where our project comes in...
MS: My Story
"MS: My Story" will be a series of 8 creative writing workshops, specifically designed for people with multiple sclerosis to experiment with writing about their lives.
The groups will be led by a creative writing facilitator who focuses on the therapeutic benefit of writing - not spelling, grammar or 'literary' quality. This means that the content of the writing, no matter how personal, will be treated as important and valuable.
Writing is not a substitute for counselling or therapy, but it is a cost-effective, community-based and often enjoyable way to address emotional issues. Putting words down on the page can help people to order their thoughts, perhaps even leading to positive adjustments to their lives. Penning a poem can also create a wonderful sense of achievement!
At the end of the 8 week series, participants will be given the option to publish a piece of their writing in a small booklet. The booklet will then be used to raise awareness of MS, and to raise some funds for the centre.
The yearly cost of providing our current services is around £200,000, which we are able to raise thanks to the kind support of regular donors and fundraisers.
However, these running costs mean that we simply cannot draw upon existing support to fund new projects - every penny is needed to maintain our current level of support. We are hoping that crowdfunding will help us to find new supporters, interested in pioneering this innovative and exciting way of supporting our clients.
The money will cover the fees of the creative writing facilitator (inclusive of materials and evaluation reports) over an 8 week period, the cost of 200 copies of our publication, and a launch event for our publication.
Looking to the future
Because this project is new to the centre, we need people who believe in the benefits of creativity to help us get started. Throughout the project, we will record the level of demand and the perceived benefits, both qualitatively and quantitavely. That way, if the project is a success, we will have a strong case for approaching future funders to keep the creativity flowing!
The dream is to create a regular creative writing group at the centre, and to expand our services to people living with other chronic conditions. Eventually, we hope to establish a consistent, professional Writing for Wellbeing service in Edinburgh.
Of course, the greatest reward for pledging to this project is knowing that you're making a fantastic new service possible. However, we also have a lovely range of gifts that we will send to say "thank you" for your help.
See the list on the right hand side to find out which rewards you will receive for your donation.