The Alma Project is a charity and incorporated organisation. It was set up as a constituted community group in Dec 2010 by former staff members, service users, volunteers and supporters of Stepping Stones mental health project. Through no fault of its own, Stepping Stones had to close when its parent charity, Edinburgh University Settlement, went into liquidation in Oct. 2010. It became a Scottish Charity Incorporated Organisation in Nov. 2015. SC046127
The name ‘Alma’ was chosen as it means ‘soul’ in Latin. We see the arts as being ‘food for the soul’ – health for mind and spirit.
Our charitable purposes are to advance education and provide relief to those in need by:
- Promoting the mental health and well-being of the inhabitants of Edinburgh and Lothians.
- Promoting the use of the arts as a therapeutic benefit for good mental health.
- Providing educational classes to those in need.
- Supporting people to manage their illness so that crises are prevented and their lives become easier
- Helping to reduce the personal costs of ill health in the lives of service users and to reduce the costs to wider society through effective crisis prevention and supporting re-integration into society.
- Provide a range of arts, education, social and therapeutic support, groups and activities to promote positive mental health and well-being.
- Publicise and promote the work of the charity and organise courses, meetings, training, events, exhibitions, performances, seminars and any activities to publicise and support the objects of the charity, including mental health awareness.
- Work with groups of a similar nature and exchange information, advice and knowledge with them, including cooperation with other voluntary bodies, charities, statutory and non-statutory organisations.
- Provide training placements for students of relevant fields of study.
We aim to support people to recover from mental ill health or to manage their illness. Our groups give people a chance to feel part of a safe and supportive community, to build relationships and to have a sense of purpose and structure in their lives. Engaging in the arts gives people a means of expression; an opportunity to safely play, explore and see yourself in a new light; a chance to learn skills and rise to challenges; a public voice and opportunity educate about mental illness and to combat stigma; an escape from worries and often a way of working through issues (whether consciously or unconsciously). Research has shown that the creative arts and social capital all improve mental health and also have a protective factor.
Our long term outcomes are to improve mental health, increase quality of life, to reduce mental illness and suicide, to eradicate any stigma associated with mental ill health.
We also visit exhibitions and places of interest. We have our own exhibitions/events/screenings/performances and are part of other events and festivals. In this way we can support our service users to engage with the wider community and bring mental health awareness to the public and reduce stigma.