What is Future Perfect?
Future Perfect is a community project that encourages the use of art therapy to support people through cancer treatment and mental distress. The project works with local partners in Greater Manchester to create small and large scale therapy events in support of the largest cancer centre in Europe, the famous Christie Cancer Hospital and their Art and Music activity programme.The hospital is the largest single site cancer centre in Europe, treating over 44,000 patients a year.
Future Perfect was founded by Lee Wyatt, a musician, DJ and artist who lost his battle with Bowel Cancer, aged just 25 years old. Cancer can be physically devastating, but it is emotionally draining too and it’s these ‘silent’ side-effects that are most often overlooked. During his illness Lee immersed himself in music and art helping him cope both mentally and physically. Despite his failing health Lee always found a way to laugh and his favourite medicine was the optimistic funniness of comedian Russell Howard. Lee and Russell were eventually introduced and after Lee’s untimely death, his mum Linda threw an arts festival in his honour and Russell headlined. The project has donated over £33,000 to the hospital in Lee’s memory, as well as organizing 4 large therapy centered festivals and a range of fundraising events. Our events have headlined service users from The Christie alongside the likes of comedian Russell Howard and an array of Manchester treasures such as Mr Scruff, George Borrowski, Rowetta, DJ Sappo, Clint Boon, Cleo Higgins, The Moods, Jeramiah Ferrari and many more.
Russell’s and the Manchester Arts scenes contribution to Future Perfect has been instrumental in helping Lee's family and close friends support the great Art initiatives being pioneered at the Christie.
The feedback from our events strongly supports the idea that people find escape when immersed in art; a chaotic mind suddenly becomes clear and focused as all of our worries pour into our creativity. Whether it’s simply colouring in a book, lashing paint on a canvas, writing poetry, or mastering a musical instrument, expression through art is one of the most satisfying forms of therapy.
The sudden loss of independence that can come from cancer treatment, and severe mental distress, can lead to feelings of loss of self. In encouraging people to awaken the artist within we hope to remind them that they are not defined by their suffering.
We hope to create, through various events opportunities for local service users to present their artwork on a public platform. This is achieved by creating exhibition spaces to display their work or opportunities to stand on a stage and perform.
Why Art Therapy makes social & financial sense
The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Arts, Health and Wellbeing Report 2017 found that:
The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer and better quality of life.
The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health.
The arts can help save money in the health service and in social care.
Art therapies diminish the physical and emotional suffering of cancer patients and the side effects of their treatments.
Within the NHS, some 10 million working days are lost to sick leave every year, costing 2.4 billion. Arts engagement helps health and care staff to improve their own health and wellbeing and that of their patients.
Future Perfect & Sonder festival, a collection of industry professionals and artists, have come together to celebrate and promote the Manchester Arts Scene and the therapeutic power of the arts. Moving forward we hope to create an annual large scale event that continues to support the Music and Art programmes at the hospital.
The dedication of our local NHS staff is crucial to supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities. The current attacks on the NHS are putting serious strain on our health professionals. Another important goal includes encouraging NHS staff to practise stress management techniques through energy arts such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation.
Our long term vision is to raise awareness about the health benefits of Art and encourage more people to create art, to practise energy arts and to immerse themselves in the rich creativity that already exists within our local communities.
Together we can make the future, perfect