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Artist is brightening the lives of others after support from Local Area Coordination

An artist from Swansea is using his talents to brighten the lives of others after being helped to regain his own confidence and to explore his home city.

Gary_Crosby

Gary Crosby became isolated and felt he lacked purpose following an incident in which his back was badly injured and which left him using a wheelchair.

He was introduced to Swansea Council's Local Area Coordination Scheme and he says the experience has been life-changing.

Recently some of his work has work has gone on show at Morriston Hospital while other pieces have been displayed at exhibitions and galleries.

He has also formed a close relationship with The Veterans Club and helps raise money to support members of the Armed Services and their families.

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) have a wide-ranging preventative brief that includes looking out for people who might be lonely and isolated and help them to connect with others so that they can live stronger, healthier and more independent and active lives.

Gary has been working with Dan Garnell, who covers central Swansea.

Dan said: "Gary is a very proud artist and produces work of an amazing standard but when we talked it was apparent he felt isolated from others and, being a wheelchair user, he found it hard to access groups where he could go to pursue his passion."

Together they discovered various options and Gary went out and got himself a bus pass that gave him and his wife Sue the freedom to get out of their home and explore their surroundings.

Gary also met up with the Veterans Club and created a piece to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

This relationship has developed further and he now donates some of his work for them to sell on.

Gary said: "My involvement with Dan and the Local Area Coordination Scheme has opened up opportunities for me that I would not have had otherwise and it has literally changed my life in a very positive way.

"I've have found a purpose for my art which makes me look forward to the day and has boosted my confidence. It also makes me proud to know I am helping other people through doing something that helps me."

Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Care, Health & Ageing Well, Cllr Mark Child, said: "Gary's artwork is fantastic and I'm sure it will be appreciated by patients, staff and visitors at Morriston.

"His story is just another example of the excellent work our LACs do in Swansea.

"There are now LACs working in communities across our city walking besides people of all ages, helping them to discover a good life,  become confident and stronger, developing their own strengths and helping them to avoid the need for them to resort to health and social services."

Swansea Bay's Arts Facilitator Fiona Edwards said: "My introduction to Gary's contemplative and skilful art came through our Primary Care Cluster Development Manager Tony Kluge's links with the LACs.

"I was more than happy to exhibit these little jewels in the hospital corridors for sale.

"It is wonderful that painting has such a positive effect on Gary's well-being and I know that patients, visitors and staff are heartened by and appreciate the work due to the early sales.

"Gary is generously donating 50 per cent of the sale price to the Arts in Health fund, which is used to improve the patient environment."

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