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Free online wellbeing courses designed to help isolated young people

Free online wellbeing courses designed to help isolated young people
19 February 2021

Local artists and musicians are among those hosting a series of free online wellbeing sessions to help tackle the feelings of isolation and loneliness being felt by some young people in Orkney.

The sessions for 16 to 25-year olds are being co-ordinated by the OIC Community Learning and Development team as part of “Mindfulness March” thanks to funding allocated from the Scottish Government and administered via Youthlink Scotland.

The four week-long sessions on offer include “Drawing for Beginners” with designer Kirsteen Stewart, “Make your own Music” with musician Brian Cromarty and “Book Illustration” with illustrator Britt Harcus. There are also three one-hour self-care and wellness sessions “Fun Skincare and Wellness” on offer.

Community Learning Officer, Cheryl Rafferty, explained: “It has been identified that rural isolation has become even more apparent for many young people in rural communities. This funding has allowed us to recruit local artists to deliver 'live' online wellbeing and mindfulness sessions to young people.

“We will work with partner organisations to identify young people who would benefit from being part of these sessions and they will be invited to sign up for free before any remaining sessions are offered more widely to young people in the community.

“It is felt that these sessions will be a good offer and way to make and maintain contact with young people. It will also allow them to meet with other local young people virtually while focusing on their own mental health and wellbeing and all sessions will be supported by a CLD Youth Worker.”

The CLD team are aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the feelings of loneliness for some young people in more remote and rural areas.

Cheryl continued: “Many young people have not been able to attend school or college, or go off island to start university, travel or work like they had planned. For many young people on the isles where isolation can already be very real to them the pandemic has led to them becoming more isolated. This project will allow young people to focus on their own mental health and wellbeing at no cost to them, albeit it virtually, but this may spark an interest for them to pursue a future career in this field, or just make them feel good and make connections add while participating in the session.”

Drawing for Beginners with designer Kirsteen Stewart

Photo of designer, Kirsteen Stewart.Kirsteen designs vibrant womenswear and home accessories which are infused with her signature blend of vivid colours and bold graphics. Kirsteen shares her design processes and techniques as inspiration for others so you too can explore, play and develop your own creativity.
By registering for these sessions you will be introduced to four sessions of 'Drawing for Beginners'. Using photos captured on your phone as inspiration learn to break a larger image down into manageable parts. Learn how to draw textures with some fun drawing exercises to help you find your drawing flow.

All you need for these sessions, which start on Tuesday 2 March, is a pencil and paper.

All sessions are bookable on a first-come, first-served basis via Eventbrite and are now live. To book a place go to

Make Your Own Music with musician Brian Cromarty

Photo of musician Brian Cromarty playing a guitar.Brian has been writing songs since he was a teenager. He can be heard on albums with The Chair, Saltfishforty and as duo with Jenny Keldie. As a tutor he has given workshops the length and breadth of the UK, from Shetland to Sidmouth, and worked for four years as a guitar tutor around Orkney's schools. This workshop will teach you how to create beats, bass lines and melodies, tricks for writing chords and melodies and lyric writing tips and ideas for inspiration.

To take part in this workshop you will need a laptop and headphones. It will also be dependable on good broadband connection.

If you can play something or sing, then you can use that, but it's not essential - you do not need to be able to play an instrument or sing to take part in this workshop.

Please note that by signing up to this workshop you will be registering to attend four weekly sessions starting on Thursday 4 March at 7.30pm and occurring on the same day and time for the next four weeks.

All sessions are bookable on a first-come, first-served basis via Eventbrite and are now live. To book a place go to

Book Illustration with illustrator Britt Harcus

Britt Harcus is a Scottish illustrator, born and bred in the Orkney Islands. After studying at NCAD in Dublin she returned home, where she has been a freelance Illustrator for the past 16 years.Photo of Artist Britt Harcus.

This workshop is an enjoyable look at the world of Visual Communications – Book illustration in particular. Students can participate in this short introduction into how words and pictures form the perfect marriage. Discuss the art of good communication, enjoyable reading and memorable story telling.

During the workshop you will work through examples and sketches also, so a small notebook or some recycled paper is useful. Emphasis on using what you have, not feeling limited by materials, resources or technology in any way. Students can use a variety of materials but simple pencil, paper and some good cheer is all that is required for this class.

These sessions will start on Wednesday 10 March and will run at the same time and day for four weeks, with the last one being Wednesday 31 March. Registering for the first sessions will sign up to the four weeks of this workshop so you can enjoy the full benefit of attending all the sessions.

All sessions are bookable on a first-come, first-served basis via Eventbrite and are now live. To book a place go to

Fun Skincare and Wellness Session

Sessions will be delivered by Cheryl Kelday who is an independent consultant, with a passion for skincare, self-care and wellness.

Following registration, you will be sent a pack of free skincare products including a sheet mask. This will be a fun session where you can hear a bit about the products and try them out. This pack will be sent to your home address. Please make sure to complete details of any allergies and skin concerns you have on the registration form. Please note that these sessions are only for fun and are not delivered by a qualified skincare specialist.

All sessions are bookable on a first-come, first-served basis via Eventbrite and are now live.

To book a place go to

Posters for these courses - for printing  - are available below.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS