In May 2020, Sue Carbert outlined her idea at a Governors meeting for an Art Gallery and Wellbeing Centre. Her idea led to discussions with architects and it was David Coles Architects who took her idea and turned it into what can be seen today.
At the same time, we received money from the government for catch-up funding. In discussion with Claire Penny, Senior Assistant Headteacher, they decided Ousedale would benefit from employing its own counsellors for students. This led to the idea that they could combine the gallery and counselling into the formation of a Wellbeing Centre and include art therapy as one of the ways to give students a means to feel confident to communicate openly with the counsellor.
Over the last few years, the number of students who attend Ousedale School with more complex SEND needs has increased and it is in this area that Sue developed the final piece of the project; a sensory garden. She said; “I thought the courtyard itself could become a calm quiet place for reflection, but also support those students with particular SEND needs. It is also a wonderful place for staff to meet for lunch or a chat.”
Dave Moulson, Chair of Governors said; “From the initial concept the project grew to be a gallery, SEND sensory space and a Wellbeing Centre. Little did we know at the time, how fitting this facility could be for dealing with the fallout from the Covid crisis. The Governing Board have donated a bench to be used in the Wellbeing Centre. Following discussion with Governors it was decided that it would be appropriate to name the gallery after Sue Carbert. The project grew from Sue’s initial plans and it is fitting that after 18 years at the School and 10 years as Headteacher, we should recognise the years of dedication to Ousedale by naming the facility after her.”
The art gallery features a range of artwork from current and alumni students as well as a commissioned piece called; 'The Release of Promise' by local artist Steve Urwin (pictured below):
The introduction of the Wellbeing Centre has made a huge difference to the lives of students. Claire Penny, Senior Assistant Headteacher said; “The challenges of the year have had a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of a number of students and alongside this, we have also been extremely limited in our ability to draw upon external agencies. Therefore, to have full time, onsite wellbeing support in such a welcoming environment has been invaluable. Students have been able to have a safe space in school to talk through their concerns, and the approach has been tailored to meet the needs of each individual student, drawing upon a range of art based therapies. The results have been outstanding.”
We have have employed an art technician who will be responsible for organising the next exhibition and ensuring as many people as possible get to see it. We hope to work with local community groups and provide opportunities for them to display art or photography. The gallery will become part of the open evening tour and offer an evening space for entertaining- fully utilising all the lights in the courtyard.
Updated July 2021