Latimer Community Art Therapy (LCAT) was formed as a response to the tragedy at Grenfell Tower by Susan Rudnik, an art psychotherapist and also a local resident of the Henry Dickens estate. It grew organically from the Henry Dickens Centre to meet the emotional and therapeutic needs of the community.
The art therapy service began on the 17th of June at the Community Centre on the Henry Dickens estate, this was the first therapeutic space to open in the area. With the help and support of local residents donations were cleared and an art therapy room made possible. Art Therapists held a space for the young people in the centre, as some art therapists went out on the street and facilitated an outdoor space on Walmer Road where teenagers spontaneously and collectively made a memorial. This initial work in the community held some of the immediate raw and painful feelings and became the building blocks of the LCAT service we now have.
Throughout this early stage the therapeutic spaces were kept confidential, protected from public and press intrusion and the artwork made in private sessions was not on public display. These important boundaries in art therapy allowed for a safe space to develop and be trusted in the community.
Within just two weeks Susan had arranged for art psychotherapists to go into nine schools. This is now a commissioned service which has grown, offering accessible mental health support to the wider community. The work at Henry Dickens (HD) has developed as the community needs have grown and this is now a thriving service for adults, families, children and young people, providing a safe space, educational, creative and physical activities underpinned with a therapeutic ethos and run concurrently with access to the art psychotherapy services. Additional wellbeing activities, adult coffee mornings and community events have also been developed in response to the community needs. The co-working and shared thinking between professionals at Henry Dickens allow for a holistic multidisciplinary approach when working with vulnerable people.