A SOUTH Tyneside group is getting arty – and in line for an award.
Ocean Arts offers adults with learning disabilities the chance to give art, drama, music, and performing a go.
The club, based at Trinity House, in Laygate, South Shields, has been nominated for Community Group of the Year in the Pride of South Tyneside Awards 2014.
It was put forward for the accolade, which is sponsored by South Tyneside Homes, by Michael Thompson, who runs Trinity House.
He said: “This caring and dedicated group are a positive example of how community groups can operate with success in today’s climate and make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities.
“The support, encouragement and inspiration shown by both the class leaders, and towards each other, is inspiring.”
Drama teacher, Jackie Fielding, explained that the group was set up two years ago.
She said: “Three of us got together to create an arts-based organisation. We wanted to work with adults with learning disabilities, and we initially had an art class and two drama classes.
“The club has grown so much and we now run multiple classes from Tuesday through to Friday. All the tutors are volunteers who do it because they love it, and as far as I can tell, all the people who come along to the classes enjoy themselves too, and we have around 70 members who come regularly to all the classes.”
She added: “When I told my drama class that we were up for the award they were all grinning like mad.
“The best thing about the group is the way it helps with their self-confidence and their individuality.
“There are some members who, when they first started coming along, would sit in the corner and not speak to anyone, but there’s nobody who does that now, everyone joins in and has fun.
“They’ve created art exhibitions and films and plays between them already, and there’s more of that to come.
“I’m sure winning the award would make everyone happy.”