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Barrhead Art and Social Inclusion Strategy is a project to empower and encourage the personal self esteem of disadvantaged members of Barrhead local community through practical art workshops, focusing on Barrhead Housing Association’s Mission Statement: 'Building and Sustaining our Community for a Brighter Future'.

Barrhead Housing Association provides housing across East Renfrewshire. As part of its 'wider action' strategy it carries out Community Development work, including arts projects, with a range of local groups with special needs.

Groups with a history of mental illness or with physical disabilities have traditionally found it difficult to participate in the arts. The BASIS project has created opportunities for three local groups to take part in well-organised intensive workshops, and to have interaction with other excluded groups in society. It has given them the chance to work creatively with a professional artist and develop their ideas under the artist’s guidance.

Barrhead Housing Association initially commissioned Art in Partnership to produce a Feasibility Study for an Art and Social Inclusion Strategy. In 2003, Art in Partnership assisted the Association to secure funding from the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery and Communities Scotland to develop a 12-month programme of art and community involvement for Barrhead.

Advised by Art in Partnership, artists have been commissioned to research, develop and implement workshops and commission projects in collaboration with three disadvantaged groups with whom the Association already has close ties - Causeway (Renfrewshire Association for Mental Health), Unity Enterprise and BandF (Barrhead and Neilston Disabled Forum). The workshops aim to encourage personal self confidence and self esteem, encourage the acquisition of new skills, and assist in creating a positive public profile for the community group involved.

As a parallel project, each of the artists has been commissioned to produce an artwork that responds to the specific character of the locality. These commissioned works will be located in a publicly accessible place in Barrhead.

The project is funded through the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Access and Participation Scheme and Communities Scotland’s 'Wider Role' with support from East Renfrewshire Council.
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