Blades score a winner with unique art project

Julie Leeson, Tony Russell and Dave McCarthy at the Reflections Art in Health exhibition launch at Bramall Lane.
Julie Leeson, Tony Russell and Dave McCarthy at the Reflections Art in Health exhibition launch at Bramall Lane.
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AN ART exhibition created by people experiencing mental illness has been unveiled at Sheffield United – making the club the first in the league to hold an event of its kind.

The Blades are showing 65 paintings and photographs at Bramall Lane after teaming up with national mental health organisation Breakthrough and charity Reflections Art in Health.

All of the artists suffer from mental health conditions, and include patients from Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The works are being displayed in the executive boxes and corridors of the club until the end of the season and visitors can buy pictures to help fund future art projects.

Sheffield United will also open its doors to Breakthrough members on a regular basis, allowing artists to sketch and take photographs on match days.

The launch event was attended by representatives from the NHS trust and the Blades, as well as Sport England, Sheffield Council and the Professional Footballers Association.

United managing director Dave McCarthy said they were keen to get involved in innovative projects.

He said: “We love to get involved in projects that are unique. This is another first for the club and the Football League.

“The exhibition has already attracted a lot of admiration and I hope it helps raise awareness of mental health, particularly among the sporting community.”

Tony Russell, founder of Breakthrough, added he was ‘thrilled and excited’ to see his members’ art on show.

“The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness of mental health issues and the benefits art can have on mental wellbeing,” he said.

“At Breakthrough we’ve wanted to link art, football and mental health for a long time.”