A CHARITY that provides creative therapy to improve mental health across the West Midlands has set up its headquarters in Dudley town centre.

The Arts of Change Trust have recently moved into Holloway Chambers on Priory Street where they provide vital counselling and therapy services to people across the region.

The team use art, play, drama and dance movement therapy alongside traditional ‘talking’ therapies to help build self-confidence and self-esteem and are currently supporting key workers who have been on the front line fighting against coronavirus as part of a National Lottery funded project.

The team is also running The Creative Orchid Project, funded by Dudley Voluntary Council Service, which is free for adults to explore a range of emotional, physiological and psychological issues through weekly art and crafts groups.

Councillor Keiran Casey is an avid supporter of their work and met with CEO Christian Dixon to welcome the team to their new home in Dudley.

The Upper Gornal and Woodsetton councillor said: "It was fantastic to visit the new offices in Dudley recently and the work that has been done has transformed the space into lots of intimate and private rooms for counselling and therapy, which are ideal.

Dudley News:

"I was really pleased to hear about their two new initiatives that they have recently secured funding for during lockdown, and the work they do is vitally important and is making such a massive difference, particularly in helping and supporting some of the most vulnerable people and in recent months many of the key workers and people who have been on the front line in the fights against coronavirus.

"I'll continue to do everything I can to help and support the great work the AoC Trust are doing locally and I'd urge anyone that needs help and support to get in touch with them straight away so they can help."

The centre is also backed by Dudley North MP Marco Longhi who said it can achieve great things in Dudley.

Dudley News: Dudley North MP Marco Longhi with ChristianDudley North MP Marco Longhi with Christian

Mr Longhi said: "It was a real pleasure to meet with Christian on Friday to celebrate the well-deserved Lottery Grant and discuss how I can support the AOC, as a provider of counselling services to the community, moving forward. This is especially important during these challenging times and it was great to ‘be on the same page’ as Christian with this.

"As a mental health champion, I felt it was important to facilitate meetings with several stakeholders across the region to support the AOC. I have also introduced the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Nic Barlow, to Christian opening the possibility for greater collaboration.

"By working together, we can achieve great things supporting our communities across Dudley."

Christian Dixon, Chief Executive of the AoC Trust said: "Our work has proved to be exceptionally vital now, especially with the rise in mental health and emotional wellbeing concerns becoming front and centre to many who have been directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19."

The team offer professional counselling and therapy services for all ages with self referrals accepted. As part of the Children in Need funded ProjectME Mindcraft, they also provide free therapy and counselling support for children and young people aged three to 18-years-old with mental health concerns.

To find out more about the Arts of Change, call 01384 211168 or email support@theaoc.org.uk.