“We say a no is another step towards a yes. Its not a failure we are just edging towards another breakthrough. Lucy’s Dad Nigel is an inspiring role model. We say ‘What would Nigel do?’ we even have that up on the wall”
What is/was your project about?
Sharing info about what it takes to live a happy life.
We use evidence based work and share it in an informal and creative way
We also hope to give people the means to open up and learn in their own unique way.
We work with a huge range of people from businesses, people suffering with mental health issues, schools and individuals.
Light Box is a not for profit Community Interest Company and it’s current project, ‘The Happiness Project’, ran from June 2012 to June 2015 and was run by three staff members and a large team of volunteers.
Light Box has worked with a variety of support services in Bristol such as Second Step Housing Association, Bristol Drugs Project and Chandos Houseand has received the support of NHS Bristol, Bristol City Council, UnLtd, The Arts Council, Lankelly Chase Foundation, and most recently, The Big Lottery Fund, who fund the current 3-year Happiness Project through its Reaching Communities Fund. Local retail estate managers have donated premises in the city centre from where the project is run.
Light Box’s Happiness Project brought Signposting Service and Happiness Workshops to Bristol. The workshops advocate intentional actions and a step-by-step approach to investment in wellbeing. These actions have been found to make a significant and positive difference to levels of wellbeing.
The three facilitators of the Happiness Project are not psychologists, psychotherapists or councellors, they are artists with a keen interest in enhancing positive mental health and improving communities. Two of the facilitators have had 5 years experience in leading this work. The science-based approach which The Happiness Project takes is made possible by the consultation of Bristol based Positive Psychologist Miriam Akhtar.
We are passionately committed to advancing people’s strength and happiness. We deliver creative workshops from the vibrant Light Box shop that motivate investment in wellbeing. We are raising awareness that mental health exists on a continuum on which we are all placed.
This theory is evidenced by Harvard Medical Sociologist Nicholas Christakis.
Our moods, habits and behaviours don’t stop with us. They are passed unconsciously through social networks for up to three degrees of separation. This means they affect not only the people that we come into contact with, but also the people that they come into contact with and then the people that theycome into contact with also.
So our level of well-being affects people we may never even meet, and in this way we hold a lot of power. When we invest in our own happiness we are also investing in the happiness of the community and society we live in.
Light Box also has provided closed group 6-week courses for support services, working specifically with vulnerable adults.
The workshops are a fun and accessible way to learn about how to boost wellbeing. They creatively explore 10 different themes taken from Applied Positive Psychology.
The workshops take place in the vibrant and comfortable Light Box shop. They provide information and group discussion, led by two facilitators and supported by a volunteer team.
The Creative Activities within the Happiness Workshops:
Gratitude: Book bind a ‘three good things’ journal and decorate it using drawing inks and wooden letterpress
Appreciation of Beauty: Create an artwork from curious miniature objects of your chosen colour and Make camera lenses from vibrant acetate
Mindfulness: Make a concentric circle artwork using fingers and finger extensions
Nurture and Kindness: Fill the room by connecting and intertwining brightly coloured thread
Vitality 1: Food and mood: Using inks to stain glasses using the pointe painting technique
Humour and Playfulness: Dismantle and reconstruct toys to make hybrid characters. Use Kinetic drawing straps loaded with pastels
Vitality 2: Movement: Create a drawing spinning-top and making bouncy ball drawings in a cardboard box
Confidence: Make a large scale, paper sculpture
Strengths: Blind-draw portraits on paper and balloons. Create a ‘strengths board’
Goals: Make a collage that symbolically depicts your goals and aspirations
What issues do you or did you address?
Poor mental health – which is endemic and is an epidemic in Bristol
We have evidence for this from the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment which showed just
how big the problem is in Bristol
It’s a big problem which is actually getting worse. There are more patients with mental
health issues using the NHS and requiring drugs and therapy.
We want to address the stigma surrounding mental health.
We also target isolation ad loneliness, isolation makes people ill and we help them to
What moved you to take action?
There are two reasons really, some of it was personal. We get on so well with each other
and were very happy working together. We realized that are very wealthy
(emotionally)and we wanted to be philanthropic and wanted to help others find their
We firmly believe that no matter how depressed someone is a little action can make a
difference and can help people to build a new life.
Lucy was diagnosed with Bi polar – which was one of the reasons that we know how to
pull people through. We have gone through it ourselves.
It also really helped us to have an appreciation of beauty and to find meaning in things.
What were the obstacles that you had to overcome?
It was really difficult before we received the funding. We had to spend three years preparing it so we could prove that it really would work. The big lottery funds were a huge breakthrough for us.
What helped you keep going in hard times? Was there a time when you thought you would give up? (What did you think or say to inspire your self to keep going?)
I think its that we believe in it. We just carry on through the obstacles and keep going.
We work in great harmony together and that really helps. Were both quite different people but it works, if we analyse everything too much it starts to go wrong!
We say a no is another step towards a yes. Its not a failure we are just edging towards another breakthrough. Lucy’s Dad Nigel is an inspiring role model. We say ‘What would Nigel do?’ we even have that up on the wall.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?
Lucy B – 9
Lucy D – 8.5 (there is always room for improvement)