A FORMER nurse who set up a community art studio in Bournemouth is celebrating a successful six months helping people learn new skills.

Pauline Stanley was a nurse working with people with learning difficulties and mental health problems before making the brave decision to study for a fine arts degree at the age of 55.

Last year she was given funding to establish the Artisan Community Art Studio in Wimborne Road, Moordown, and this has now been running for six months.

During this time, scores of people have learnt a variety of new techniques and enjoyed expressing themselves through art.

Pauline is now urging others to come and have a look at the courses they offer.

They are based at the First Point Plus centre, opposite the Holly Tree pub.

She said: “I call myself an arts and health practitioner and work in a really inclusive way.

“Art and creativity is really powerful and necessary for everybody and everybody should have access to it.

“It should be affordable and accessible.”

She currently works with a variety of small groups, who include people with Asperger’s Syndrome, mental health problems, learning difficulties and children who are home educated.

“The effects are extraordinary – they really just blossom,” she said. “They have increased confidence and are often much happier; it’s really noticeable.”

In addition, the studio offers a range of workshops that are open to anyone.

These include lens-less photography, printmaking, willow work and natural plant dyeing as well as traditional watercolours, drawing and sculpture.

“There are new courses coming up all the time,” said Pauline.

“I would like to see a lot more artists working here and using the space and the public taking advantage of the space and the facilities that are here.”

For information, visit thecommunit yartstudio.blogspot.co.uk