Artistic makeover for Cygnet Thors Park

Cygnet Thors Park, our high dependency complex care service in Essex for men with learning disabilities, has recently received a makeover from local artist Julie Taylor-Lange.

Cygnet Thors Park is nestled in the quiet area of Thorrington and surrounded by trees and a plethora of wildlife. The diversity is incredible and, following discussions with the regional management team, plans were set in place to look at how the service could bring the “outside in” whilst incorporating the views of service users.

Occupational Therapist, Susan Wood, identified local artist Julie Taylor-Lange who was already working with an arts and music festival in aid of mental health as a perfect contractor for the project. Susan invited Julie to visit Cygnet Thors Park and see what could be done to bring the outside in and integrate ideas from service users for murals for the walls.

Julie first visited Cygnet Thors Park, had a walk around and met the service users. She then followed this up with some ‘mood boards’ with her ideas and feedback from the visit for everyone to see. These suggest two different themes, one for the Thorrington aspect (natural wildlife/landscape estuary environment) and a second for the Brightlingsea aspect (seaside) of the main building.

Julie and Susan then worked closely together to develop lots of creative ideas that integrated service user and staff feedback. These included showing animals which our service users see in the extensive grounds, scenes captured from the views at Cygnet Thors Park and interactive ideas such as vines and trees where fingers can trace the vines along the walls. A concept developed that everyone should not just feel a relationship with the artwork, but also feel a need to interact with it, to come back to it. Hence some work is very detailed.

The resulting murals have proven to be very popular with everyone at Cygnet Thors Park. One of the trees started by Susan now includes leaves with photos of the service users. Some of the service users also enjoy tracing the vines with their fingers and stopping to look at the animals. Meanwhile, Julie is very proud to be part of such an important and life-changing community artwork and very grateful for the wonderful support and positive feedback she has had from both staff and service users.

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