A CHARITY operating from a barge in Isleworth headed to Tower Bridge today in a bid to raise awareness of mental health.
Friends of Cathja, the 38-foot Dutch barge moored beside the London Apprentice pub in Old Isleworth, uses art to help people with mental health problems.
Artists on the boat encourage people to express their creative sides in an attempt to help them with their issues.
Cathja made its way to Tower Bridge on Tuesday (September 3), before charity workers invited people on board the following day to learn about its work.
Rin Roche, project worker for the charity, said the trip was about opening people's eyes to mental illness, which affects one in four people during their life.
"We wanted to help reduce the stigma and mystery surrounding mental health," she told the Chronicle. "We thought the best way to do that was by welcoming people aboard and inviting them to meet the service users and artists and take part in art workshops and games those users have created."
She added that although the charity focused on the needs of individual users rather than end results, like getting them back into work, the art workshops often helped users make major life changes.
The trip and the open day were paid for using a £20,000 grant from Time to Change project, which is funded by the Department of Health.