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Marilyn inspires mental health artwork

Photo Neil Cross
Young artists Jodie Brennan and Elle Logan, with their artwork on display at Whitegate Drive walk-in centre, based on mental health and bullying

Photo Neil Cross Young artists Jodie Brennan and Elle Logan, with their artwork on display at Whitegate Drive walk-in centre, based on mental health and bullying

A team of Blackpool teen-agers took influence from the ultimate Hollywood starlet as they created works of art for a display about mental health.

The youngsters learned about the life and times of Norma Jean Baker, better known as actress Marilyn Monroe, focusing on the sadder times of her life, which ultimately propelled her to worldwide fame.

As a child, the American was abandoned by her parents and taken into care, later being bullied in school.

Organisers of the art, now displayed in Whitegate Drive Health Centre, Blackpool, used this ‘tough start’ story to inspire youngsters at a Mereside youth group.

Organiser Dave Blacker, a youth worker for Blackpool Boys and Girls Club, said: “When you consider the many problems and obstacles she had to face during her lifetime, then basing a youth work project around certain aspects of her life might not seem quite so strange.”

Members of Mereside Boys and Girls Club Youth Centre made artworks based on family, friendship, aspirations, hopes, fears and bullying.

The idea for the work came from Mr Blacker after he read a book about Marilyn Monroe.

He added: “Reading about her it became obvious she was like a young person in Blackpool, aspects were describing the archetypal types of some of our young people when I read she was bullied.

“Our young people are aware of these issues and it’s important to talk about health and happiness.

“Marilyn Monroe shows they can achieve anything.

“We developed worksheets on what’s most important to these young people.

“Displaying that work raises their self esteem, having it in the health centre is a big honour and it can be helpful to clients there.”

The project has the backing of Blackpool’s fairness commission, and Ashok Khandelwal, manager of primary care mental health services, and Dr Ramesh Ghandi, a retired doctor.

The work is displayed in the children and adult mental health service in the centre.

The service’s manager David Eaton said: “It’s great to have it displayed. I’m keen to promote giving children a voice, particularly on health and wellbeing. Anything we can do to raise the profile of that is a positive thing. We’ve had really good feedback.”

The artwork display is up until June 9.

 

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