Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Community art garden helps mum and daughter overcome loneliness

Gill Merrick, Ken Sexton and Pauline Lord
Image caption Gill Merrick (left) and Pauline Lord with Ken Sexton of the Men in Sheds group

Working on a community art garden in the Isle of Man helped a mother and daughter overcome feelings of loneliness and depression, they said.

Pauline Lord said she became isolated following the death her husband of 49 years, Trevor, in 2017.

But the art project had given her a "renewed purpose in life", she said.

The garden, in the south of the island, features decorated stones and mosaic pieces, including a 6ft x 4ft wall feature.

Her daughter, Gill Merrick, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, said being immersed in the creation of the artworks had done them "a world of good".

"When I first started here I was down, I was depressed," she said, adding that the project had helped her to "take her mind off everything".

Image caption Mosaic pieces have been created to decorate the garden

The project was run by the Southern Community Initiatives Hub, based at at Thie Rosien in Port Erin.

The hub hosts a variety of activities, ranging from card making to meditation, aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation in the community.

"People who come here for these kind of things are either lonely, depressed, or have chronic conditions like I have," Mrs Merrick said.

The project had allowed both her and her mother to "get out into the community instead of sitting at home dwelling on everything", she added.

Image caption Materials including seashells were used to create the mosaic

The pair admitted they had "shed some tears" during the project, but had also "shared a lot of laughs".

"It's one of the best medicines anyone could recommend," Mrs Merrick added.

A large mosaic in the garden, which depicts aspects of Manx heritage and culture, was created using colourful pieces of tile, mirror and seashells.

Members of the island's Men in Sheds, working alongside volunteers from the area, provided the woodwork for the artwork.

Work on the community garden, which received Arts Council funding, started about two years ago.

Image caption Volunteers spent nearly two years working on the project

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