OVER recent years there has been a growing understanding of the impact that taking part in the arts can have on health and wellbeing.

With this in mind, the Arts Development Service was formed by Pendle Leisure Trust in 2000, with the hope of getting more people from the borough involved in art.

The service, run from The ACE Centre, in Nelson, offers a range of projects and events which have seen hundreds of residents from the borough, and beyond, get involved.

One of the courses it runs, which has become extremely popular, is Arts on Prescription. The 12-week course is available at a number of community venues across Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley, featuring topics such as book-making, painting, creative writing, and printing.

The aim of the sessions is to help people escape from issues affecting them, and allow them to relax by focusing on creative activities. The sessions also provide people with the chance to meet others who may be suffering from similar problems.

The service also hosts Pendle Open Art Exhibition, which is held at The ACE Centre each October. The exhibition is the largest in the area, featuring around 150 to 200 original art works.

It is open to all, from budding to professional artists, and features a range of different types of arts, from sculptures to textiles.

As part of the Portas Pilot Scheme, the service was tasked with creating a vintage arts and crafts fair.

Now a popular bi-annual event, the fair features around 60 to 80 stalls, with everything either hand- made, or more than 20 years old.

Kirsty Rose Parker , arts development manager, said: “The idea behind the service is to encourage people in Pendle to get involved in the arts.

“We run a number of projects to try and engage people, ranging from Arts on Prescription, aimed at helping people who may be suffering from various problems, to an open art exhibition which gives people in the area a chance to showcase their work and view that of others.

“Throughout the year we exhibitions, featuring textiles, photographs, work from community art groups and more.

“In April we will be holding our the next Nelson Vintage Arts and Crafts Fair, an event which has become very popular.”

For more information about artists displaying their work at The ACE Centre, visit www.pendlegallery.blogspot.com