The Active Looking Project

by Make it Better CIC in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Total raised £565

raised so far



The Active Looking Project reduces isolation and the stigma surrounding mental health conditions through creative activities.

by Make it Better CIC in Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 8th October 2022 we'd raised £515 with 11 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.


Why is the Active Looking Project so important to us?

We believe that by using photography to look outwards at the world around us we can also begin to look forwards, beyond difficult times and feelings we find ourselves in.

Make it Better (aka Mitber) CIC is an artist run community interest company, set up in 2017 with the belief that creativity helps people live well.

Last year 70 people were lost to suicide in Cornwall. Delivery of community-centred projects such as The Active Looking Project are key to saving more lives from suicide and self harm. Suicide prevention takes many forms and, as well as crisis intervention, preventative measures are really important. This is where our Active Looking Project can step in.

Our activities support communities to reduce isolation and the stigma surrounding health conditions, helping people to feel empowered by developing new skills. We have created The Active Looking Project with our community of local residents, partners and volunteers

We need your support to help us deliver this project to those who might benefit from our fun and thoughtful sessions. To say thank you for your support we have a range of rewards available, see the side bar!

Our groups include newcomers as well as long-standing members who love to come back again and again – but don’t just take our word from it, watch our video for reflections from previous members of our sessions on why they valued past projects so much!


How will this project help Cornish communities?

Active Looking helps people to develop strategies for externalising thoughts and looking beyond the more negative ones. As said by a previous project participant: ‘This is a great means of self-care, so I just wanted to personally say thank you.’

Active looking uses elements of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing 

1. Connect - with others in the group, yourself and the spaces around you

2. Be active – getting out and about to explore your surroundings, moving your body doesn’t have to be intense sport to help you feel better!

3. Take notice – Pausing to see the things we often overlook can create special moments in the everyday, hold a moment of peace and build gratitude for the small things.

4. Keep learning – A range of creative activities will be offered, challenging and rewarding those exploring new skills

5. Give – Selfless actions help improve wellbeing, whether that’s giving time to someone who needs a listening ear or volunteering in sessions such as ours.

The Active Looking Project will help individuals to share their diverse stories authentically, which will support their wellbeing and give others the opportunity to learn more about communities that may be different from their own.


What communities can get up to as part of this project:

Having a go at the creative processes helps communities develop a sense of pride in what they stand for. 

  • Photography 
  • Film making 
  • Animation
  • Digital image making, memes and GIFS
  • Sound recording 
  • Publishing catalogues and zines 
  • Community exhibitions

These activities, delivered in group format, will work to reduce loneliness and develop pride in what makes ‘you’.  It will build confidence in individuals making them more able to reach out for support.

Sharing authentic digital content will amplify unheard voices fostering a greater sense of connection and excitement within Cornish communities.

With your support we can introduce these new groups to communities around Cornwall.


Rewards – chances to experience the power of photography yourself!

To say thank you for your support we have a range of rewards on offer for you to have the opportunity to pledge for - from postcards of our previous participant’s amazing work to group photography sessions so you can have a chance to experience the benefits of photography yourself!


Who are the faces behind Mitber?

Ruth Purdy (Executive Director) - I believe that art has the power to change the world and I set up Make it Better (mitber) CIC to increase engagement with creativity. I studied Fine Art BA Hons and PGCE in Birmingham, followed by an MA in Photography at Falmouth. Before this I worked in further education and in schools delivering arts education to a wide variety of neurotypical and neurodiverse learners; working closely with speech, language and occupational therapists. I am always excited to see the unique way individuals respond to and communicate through creative processes. For over ten years I have worked in local communities around Cornwall, demonstrating how regular contact with fun creative activities can improve people lives.

Sharon Baker (Director) - Independently of her work at mitber, Sharon has had a long career as an arts facilitator and manages a charity providing access and participation in the arts to improve people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life. Sharon’s art practise uses printmaking processes. Her work has been shown in several national print competitions and in exhibitions across the UK and France, including in the House of Commons. In 2019 she was the winner of the inaugural Westmorland Landscape Prize. She gained a BA (honours) Degree in Fine Art from Wolverhampton University specialising in Printmaking and an MA in Fine Art from Coventry University.

Vanessa Harbar (Director) - Vanessa is a cultural heritage leader and facilitator who has worked across a wide range of museums, trusts, funding bodies and government agencies. Also a practicing yoga guide with a strong interest in wellbeing within and beyond the workplace. Vanessa loves using crafts and creative activities for fun and inspiration. Vanessa holds an MA in Historic Environment Conservation and is currently Head of Culture at The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Peter Doubleday (Director) – Peter is an artist specializing in photography and printmaking. Originally training as painter he has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art an MA in Photography and the PGCHE teaching qualification for Higher Education. Peter lives in Redruth and is engaged with local cultural initiatives. His work has been shown internationally and is regularly accepted into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Royal West of England Academy Annual Open Exhibition.

We also have a great team of volunteers supporting us in delivery of these sessions! 


Want to keep up to date or get involved?

If you’ve liked what you’ve read and believe in our project, any amount you can give will be invaluable in bringing it to life.

We run monthly photography contests, all remotely, if you’d love to have a go you can have a look at our Facebook page for this month’s theme and how to submit your entry! (link at the top of the page!)

If you’d like to keep updated with our future work you can sign up for our newsletter (see the bottom of the page):




This project offered rewards

£10 or more

12 Pack Postcards

A chance to own a 12 pack of postcard prints selected from our previous exhibition of participant's work.

£35 or more

A2 Giclee Print

Your choice of A2 Giclee print selected from our range (includes £4.75 postage)

£100 or more

1hr Individual Photography Session

A 1 hour individual photography session

£150 or more

Family Potrait Photography Session

Capture family memories through a portrait photography session with Ruth

£250 or more

Group Photography Session on location

A great opportunity for a group activity, and a chance to hone your photography skills.

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