A new canvas for Shadyfish Xperiance members

15 November 2013

“I painted my way out of addiction”

“Instead of channelling my addiction into drugs, I poured it into art.” Ricky, Chairman of Shadyfish Xperience  

As someone living with chronic depression and drug addiction, for years Ricky was unable to find the support he needed to quit. But in 2008, he was lucky enough to be enrolled on a 12-week art course for people with mental health issues. When the course ended, Ricky realised he wanted to help other people do the same.

Ricky now runs a series of free drop-in art groups at community centres around Essex that are open to people of all ages. The Shadyfish Xperience sessions uses art and creativity to help people discuss and address issues around mental health, substance abuse, homeliness and the criminal justice system.

“It’s all about using art to help people express themselves and respect each other,” says Ricky whose invaluable work has helped people like himself to build the confidence and social skills they need to move on with their lives. People’s Health Trust donated almost £10,000 to sustain the five community art groups already running and also set up two new projects targeting young people.

Image of Ricky and a group member painting together



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