The past 18 this months have been a challenge for everyone. For our Life Skills group, part of Support in Mind Scotland’s Employability Service, this challenge also involved finding ways of delivering our service to people, many of whom were already socially isolated, who had no access to the internet, nor a device to use. With help from Connecting Scotland, and a bit of creative up-cycling of old devices we had in our offices, we were able to get the vast majority of our service users online and using Zoom during the first 2 months of lockdown number one.

In doing this, we were able to continue to run groups that had previously taken part in our building in Dumfries town centre. Art, crafts, creative writing, sewing, and digital photography were all set up and running by the end of May 2020. Although these groups have been different, harder to run, and initially more stressful to be part of, those who have participated have continued to develop new and existing skills, despite all the challenges.

In ‘normal’ times the creative outcomes of those in our groups are displayed in exhibitions in Dumfries and Galloway, or sold through our shop, which is part of the Employability Service. The various lockdowns and uncertainties during the past 18 months have made this impossible. However, we have still been able to find a way to show off some of the work done here in our digital gallery. I very much hope you enjoy looking at the images taken by a small but industrious group of photographers who have risen to every challenge we have set them during the covid pandemic.

Finally, I would like to thank all the photographers who contributed to the gallery, not just for their images, but for their enthusiasm, determination, and creativity. And also a big thanks to Drew, who has put this gallery together. He spent many hours in zoom meetings trying to make sense of what I was asking him to do, when I myself had no idea. Thanks Drew.

So please take a look around the gallery below, and enjoy!

- John Scott, Employability Service Manager (Life Skills)

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If you're interested in purchasing prints of any of the artworks featured in our gallery, please drop a note of interest to [email protected]. Any funds raised will go directly back into the service. Thank you!

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