Matthew's story

Helping others by sharing his talent

Matthew Plowright in his art studio

Walking into Matthew Plowright’s studio is like walking into an Aladdin’s Cave; every surface is covered with colour and artwork of various descriptions and you are left with no doubt that he is very talented. 

The 26 year old textiles graduate from Beeston has not always had such confidence in his work. After suffering from challenging mental health for many years, Matthew became involved with Co-Production.  The service is co-ordinated by Nottinghamshire County Council and encourages people to share their passion with others, which in turn helps them to find their own.

Matthew was invited by Co-Production to become one of their artists in residence during Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 at the Middle Street Resource Centre, Beeston.

“For two weeks Matthew came along and explained how his artworks and painting had helped him on the road to recovery” said Biant Singh Suwali, a Social Worker working in the Co-Production team. “Seeing his passion and how it has helped him has encouraged others to do the same”.

“I felt supported and this gave me confidence” explains Matthew, who has gone on to display his work at a local pub, as well as being in talks with a Nottinghamshire Gallery who would like to exhibit his work.  

“People appreciating my work, as well as now being able to sell some items, has really boosted my confidence. It’s such a bonus that I’m also encouraging others to pick up their paintbrush” said Matthew.

Co-Production works on an approach that engages people to be part of the community to improve their health and well-being. Through using and sharing their skills, volunteers make a real difference to individuals and their communities. Example projects include music, art, adult education, horticulture and peer support groups.  

Since working with Co-Production Matthew has gained confidence and been able to exhibit more work. Telling people about his work, including his picture story book collection about ‘Roger the Prawn’, has in his own words given him a new “sense of worth”.

Five tips to help you and your loved ones to rediscover good mental health

1. Connect with people - family and friends.
2. Take notice of and enjoy your surroundings.
3. Keep active - go for walks.
4. Keep learning or reignite old passions.
5. Give something back to the community.

Everyone has a skill that they can give and volunteers are important and valued by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Volunteers are needed in many services including libraries, country parks, archives, sport and youth services.

To find out more about volunteering opportunities in your community 

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