Blades artshow a break through

LEGENDMI''Tony Russell and tony Hill
LEGENDMI''Tony Russell and tony Hill

SHEFFIELD United are set to be the first club in the league to showcase an inspiring art exhibition created by people experiencing mental illness.

National mental health organisation Breakthrough and associated charity Reflections Art in Health have teamed up with United to exhibit 65 paintings and photographs.

They were all created by people dealing with mental health conditions, many who are patients in the city.

The exhibition will be unveiled at Bramall Lane on Friday September 2 with artwork displayed in the executive boxes and corridors.

The launch will be attended by representatives from Sheffield United, Sport England, Sheffield city council, the Professional Footballers’ Association, and senior NHS figures.

Tony Russell, the founder of Breakthrough, said the aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness of mental health issues and the benefits of art to mental wellbeing.

He said: “Thanks to the fantastic co-operation of the club, we have embarked on a wonderful and unique partnership which will give us the opportunity to showcase the creative talents of many of our artists.

“We at Breakthrough have wanted to link football, art and mental health for a long time and now thanks to Sheffield United, we can.

“We are excited and thrilled about the exhibition and hope that it will be the first of many relationships Breakthrough forges between football clubs in the UK. We hope that fans and visitors to Bramall Lane are inspired.”

Dave McCarthy, United’s managing director, said: “Football is an integral part of life in Sheffield so this is a unique opportunity for the artists and photographers to engage with the local community in a way they may not have done before.

“We are really proud to be the first club in the Football League to champion Breakthrough and support its work by transforming our executive suites and corridors into mini galleries. It’s exciting for United to combine art and football in this way and I’m sure that the exhibition will inspire Blades fans while raising awareness of mental health and the benefits art therapy can have on people’s wellbeing.”

The club hopes to open its doors to Breakthrough members regularly.

The art and photos will be on display all this season and will be for sale to enable Reflections Art in Health Charity to fund future art projects.