Centrepieces@the Pop Up ~ OPEN DAY Saturday 21st October 2023


Centrepieces @ the Pop Up (Sidcup Manor House) Open Day Saturday 21st October 2023


Article written by Centrepieces Artist and volunteer - Lesley Cody

On Saturday 21 October, Centrepieces held an open day at their pop-up premises at Sidcup Manor House.  Centrepieces is a mental health arts charity that supports and promotes mental health recovery through the arts.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Bexley were delighted to attend the Open Day and get to know more about the work of Centrepieces. They praised the organisation and the event for bringing the community together to discover the power of art as a recovery tool.

In the morning there was a family craft workshop run by volunteers, followed by a Neurographic Art / Doodle Session, which was perfect for those who wished to explore their creative side or learn a new skill.  In the afternoon, there was a card making workshop where attendees were able to craft their own greeting cards using specifically created activity packs and a range of tools and materials which were provided.  There was something to suit everyone, regardless of their age or skill level.

The event also featured live music from a U3A eight-member guitar group in the morning and a local saxophone quartet in the afternoon. They performed in a marquee in the garden sheltered from the inclement weather.


Alongside the workshops and the musical performances, there were plenty of other activities to entertain and occupy the visitors.  The fundraising shop was a particular highlight of the event, selling jewellery, artwork, cards, craft packs and books. The shop proved to be extremely popular, with customers queuing to snap up the unique items.

Homemade cakes and tea or coffee were available throughout the day, perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up. There was also a raffle and a tombola, with some amazing prizes to be won.

It is clear from the success of the Open Day that Centrepieces is an invaluable resource in the local community and that its work is having a positive impact. The charity is a great example of how art can be used to promote mental health and wellbeing and how creativity can be used to bring people together.

The day was a great success, with many members of the public coming to find out more about the charity and the services it offers. They were able to view the art spaces and see the work of the twenty artists who use them.

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Centrepieces Celebrates 20th Anniversary

2019: The Year We Turned 20!

Two decades of expressive and exploratory art, promoting a better understanding of mental illness to the wider community 

As another year comes to a close, and a new one begins, it seems fit to reflect on the past year. 2019 marked Centrepieces 20th anniversary! And what a successful twelve months it has been for our ever-blossoming charity.

To celebrate the evolution of Centrepieces over the past two decades, artists engaged in workshops and projects, focusing on the theme of 'journeys'; in suit of the journey the charity has taken itself.

One of the most notable changes in 2019 has been the opening of our 'Centrepieces Pop-Up'. In partnership with East Street Arts, an organisation that prides itself on providing space for artists, we have taken over the old Argos space (which apparently hasn't quite got through to some of the general public who frequently enter ArTgos mistakenly) . The pop-up location provides our artists with studio, workshop and exhibition space. It has also been an excellent facility for our annual auction, and various other events throughout the year - working collaboratively with the Young Adults Project from Bexley Mind and hosting an arts and crafts fair.

- Emily Bennett

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Just Trying to Understand by Christie Cassisa

Just Trying to Understand

Sometimes my heart feels like it is going to break and I don’t know why.  
I feel stuck, sometimes, like that.  At that point where my heart is going to break.  And I don’t know why.
Its not a nice feeling, like there is a tornado coming, and you need to close the door, but for some reason the door doesn’t quite close.  And you don’t know why.
But its not a bad feeling, like there is an excitement about seeing a tornado, you know that apart from the destruction, you’ve wanted that kind of excitement for some time.  But you don’t know why.
You can’t run into the storm, it could be dangerous, but you don’t know why, you can’t close the door, but you don’t know why.
My painting stands on my easel, still wet from yesterdays painting session.  A painting of storm clouds, and a dark turbulent sea, yesterday I was lost in it, completely connected in emotion and colour, pouring out how I feel into the wild smeared marks.  I felt as if I had opened the door and stood on the threshold of the storm. Today I know that I am excited to return to that painting, but I am afraid too, and I don’t know why.
Perhaps it is an unconscious understanding that I am the storm, and in my mind, I test that theory, I let myself be the storm, and I see a small and fragile person, standing in a doorway of a flimsy shack, looking at me, not understanding anything.  

I am the storm.  I love that person, in her ignorance, standing in her illusion of safety, with her aura of apathy, crusted around her child like heart.  I want to give her a gift. My gift is to attack everything she has built around her, she is trapped in her own poisons, everything she has built up is a prison, I will show her how to be free!  She is scared, and it will seem devastating, but she will understand one day she doesn’t need those things. I am her rescuer, I am her best friend who loves her, I will tear down that prison, I will take her hand and we will fly!
by Christie Cassisa

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