Poetry to honour the counselling


Could I ask you to hold this lamp for a moment?

Would you mind?

Only I’m tired and weary from my travels

I have these heavy bags

And it’s getting dark

My glasses are misted over

And I can’t see very well


Would you be good enough to hold this lamp?

Just for a moment?

That would be ever so kind


Ah! That’s better already

I’ve got a free hand

Now let me put these bags down

And clean my glasses

And wipe my eyes

Ah, that’s better, I can see

A little bit further down the road now

I need just enough light to see me through

The next step or two

Then perhaps I can carry on


I don’t think I need all this stuff though

Maybe I’ll recycle some when the time’s right


I think I can take back my lamp now

I’m sure I can manage

And thank you so much for your time


I’m really glad I met you

You seemed to know just what I needed

You were more than happy to hold my lamp

You’ve been ever so kind


Written by J and inspired by counselling with Ian at IPSUM





The Ipsum art room wished to create some special art for an exhibition to show respect and remembrance.

The waiting room was transformed into a gallery space where the poppy inspired art was displayed for all to see.

In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.

In Flanders Fields


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

        In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

        In Flanders fields.


We will be taking the exhibition on the road to our pop-up shop in the Brunel Center on the 26th November until the 1st December, please come along if you can.




The Ipsum Charity Gala Ball

The Ipsum Charity Gala Ball

Fundraising in Style

The Ipsum Gala Ball at Bingham Hall
The Ipsum Gala Ball at Bingham Hall

On the 29th September 2018 the hard work of the staff and volunteers came together with the support of the amazing and most talented Derek Paravicini, the fabulous operatic voice of Maria Jagusz with the beautiful voices of her performing group of children and adults and Mitch Winehouse and his fabulous Jazz Band.

A fabulous night was had by all under the glorious chandeliers and architectural elegance of the Bingham Hall in Cirencester, we can recommend this as an amazing venue!

Six months of hardwork, planning and organising went into creating this splendid night of fabulous food, entertainment and a very lively auction experience with some wonderful opportunities up for grabs!

IPSUM wants to say a big THANK YOU to all who were involved in the creating of the event, all who bought tables or tickets for the ball and those who bought raffle tickets, and bid on the auctions. Also a big THANK YOU to the artists who willingly gave their time and performed beautifully on the night.  

Andrew's story

Andrew's story



I wouldn't want to go back!'


'I used to stay at home all day and watch TV, eat and sleep with nothing else going on in my life....no routine.'


'Now I get to come twice a week to Ipsum to get involved in the music project'


The music groups make me feel happy, electric, makes me feel enthusiastic.  


'Its changed my life - given me routine, I get to meet new people and it takes away the boredom.'

'I really get stuck in and enjoy the drumming!'


'I've recently felt confident enough to try speed dating! 

Sadly, I wasn't lucky this time but I will keep going..... I'm still looking for love.'

Paul's story

Paul's story

Paul 1
Paul 1


'I was suffering from depression and anxiety when I found out about Ipsum'


I was suffering depression and anxiety when life dealt me a cruel blow and I suffered four major losses in a really short space of time.

'I ended up in hospital, they told me about Ipsum'

In many ways Ipsum has been a lifesaver and a great place to slowly recover. 

I was in a dark place when I first went to Ipsum, I had suffered a breakdown and life was really hard to manage.  

'The staff are lovely, helpful and unjudgemental and also very supportive'


It took all my strength to go along to Ipsum for my assessment but I am so glad that I did.  It took about half an hour to have my assessment and then they showed me around the music and art studios, it felt so safe and welcoming. I was asked when I wanted to start and I said 'Now please'.  They booked me in for the art the next day!

'Ive learned so much in the art and music studios'

Ive been taught countless painting techniques in the art room and I painted my first every acryllic painting on canvas with the guidance of the facilitators, I called it ' Seven weeks in the Cotswolds' because thats how long it took to paint it.

Also Ive been inspired to try lots of different techniques at home like making a dragon ut of baked bean tins, turning old pie tins into intricate bowls, welding washers and screws together to make sculptures.  This has created a greatly needed distraction from my negative thoughts.

'In the music Ive started to sing' 

I could hardly talk coherantly when I came to Ipsum never mind singing.  Now I'm singing in front of other people, Ive joined in with a new band that they are creating called 'Next Generation' and get to play keyboard, guitar and I have even brought my diggery-doo in from home to record.

'IPSUM gave me a space to relax, learn new skills and start to socialise again in a safe place.'




Margaret’s Story

Margaret’s Story


I was running away from people, I was hiding and not seeing people.  I would just be at home not talking to anybody.  I had a lot of solitude in life.

I started to come along to the art rooms to get out of my flat and have contact with other people whilst doing something I love.  I love the sewing, it’s good for the brain.

Coming along to the art project has helped me, I feel free…… I can talk to people now.  It’s still not so easy outside in the community to speak to people but at IPSUM I can talk to people and have a laugh with them.

Steph's Story - in her words

Steph's Story - in her words

My recent diagnosis of Bipolar meant that I had been on an emotional and unstable rollercoaster.


Family and friends have been so supportive and understanding throughout each stage of the illness. My step-mum even gave up her business to care for me. However, the illness seemed sometimes to suffocate me. Both physically and, of course, mentally. Sometimes I felt extremely isolated and trapped. It was hard to remain at my house day after day, but I knew it was for my own  safety. Then we heard about IPSUM…

I was over the moon when I found out what was on offer. So we made an appointment to see Lucille for an assessment. She immediately made me feel welcome. We talked openly for some time about what I had been going through and ways to move forward. She is in charge of Art at IPSUM so we discussed the types of workshop on offer. In the end we decided I would go to the Wednesday “Wild Card” because this would allow me to participate in a range of different art projects. I was looking forward to coming back the following week.

On my first morning, I was excited, yet anxious. I knew I would be meeting people from all types of background and hadn’t experienced anything like this before. It became a slightly daunting concept. Everyone within the group was extremely kind and welcoming, but it was overwhelming for me.

I felt as thought that morning, I really realised I had been diagnosed with Bipolar. Perhaps I’d been living in a little bubble and reality hit me that day. Accepting an illness, is a very important part of being able to deal with it. I was overcome with emotion when I left and couldn’t control my tears. They just kept on and on. My reaction to joining IPSUM shocked me and I remember little other than the emotions of that day. However, this needed to happen. This needed to happen so that I could make a step forward. I knew I needed to push through the fears that consumed me. It was not IPSUM I was afraid of, it was myself.

I decided not to return on the afternoon, but I knew the following week I had to push myself to go back. I’m extremely glad that I did, as since then I feel as though I’ve made noticeable progress every week. As the weeks went by I felt my confidence grow. It’s great to have a form of escapism in such a creative environment, especially as I love art. I have also started having guitar lessons with Mike, which has been another exciting new experience. I’ve found that music is really great for my self-esteem. I’ve only learnt a few chords, but while I’m playing I really do feel myself smiling.

It’s also given me a whole new perspective that I will take away with me and probably use throughout my everyday life. It’s been good to understand the people around me and get to know them without making any immediate assumptions.

IPSUM has played a really big part in my recovery process. When I was at my worst I wasn’t allowed to leave the house on my own, but now I’m catching the train to Swindon by myself. I’ve now even begun to volunteer within the group, which, looking back over the last three or four months, is somewhat surprising. Coming to IPSUM has allowed me to channel my energy into a positive future.

Jay's Story

Jay's Story

Jay's art
Jay's art

"I was getting help for my alcohol abuse and it was suggested that I try the Art Programme with some of the other people from my group"


"I didn’t have much social interaction with people other than in a drinking situation and didn’t think I had the social skills to cope in a group environment like this.

After the first day I realised it wasn’t as terrifying as I first envisioned. We were all in the same boat, so we soon bonded and found confidence; although at first I thought my abilities would be judged by others, the pressure to be good disappeared when I realised we all felt the same. 

"I knew I needed a purpose and something to do other than sitting in front of the goggle-box so I went to see the people at IPSUM"


One day we started to draw; we had tried charcoal but now we were using ink. I looked at my drawing half-way through and thought, 'I still can’t do this', but Lucille encouraged me to persevere and gave me lots of practical advice - and I was really happy with the finished result. I received a certificate at the end of the 6 week project and felt like I’d found a new sense of direction. I’d surprised myself with my ability and thought I’d try something else and see what else I could do.

I carried on going to Art and trying new techniques and styles; one day we tried Pointillism, which I’d never heard of. I got to a stage where I felt fairly happy with my painting…. until the facilitator asked if I had finished. She sat with me for the next couple of hours and guided me to a finished product I was extremely happy with. I’m proud of all the work I do now and post my work up on social media when I’ve finished something.

I was interested in what else was happening in IPSUM, and ended up learning the bass guitar! Now I'm good enough to join in jamming sessions with other musicians too. 

Next I started to attend the Sewing Group! At first I thought, 'I’m a grown man, what the heck do I need to learn how to sew for?' but I quickly took to it, which was quite funny. I egged on my friend too who had joked about it and he started coming along with me.

It was surprising how quickly time flew by. I took some work home with me to finish one night and I ended up working on it until 2am without realising! The most common phrase that gets used here is ‘time goes by so quickly’, and that’s because you’re relaxed, occupied, doing something creative and useful for yourself.

"The sense of achievement when you finish something you’re happy with is immense"


In the summer we went on a trip to the American Museum in Bath. It was completely free which was amazing. We sat in the gardens and all had a picnic together and looked around all of the displays. It was not only great to see all the works of art but also to get out of Swindon and spend time socially with other people. Most of us would not have been able to do this otherwise.

The group hung work up in an exhibition that we held in the Library. This was a huge confidence boost and the Mayor of Swindon came along as well as BBC Radio Wiltshire who interviewed some of us, and the Swindon Advertiser too. It’s so nice to hear a complete stranger say positive things about your work. I have developed my own drawing style and I’ve just joined Swindon Artist Forum in the Brunel Centre and hope to have some work on the walls there soon.

I went on to become a volunteer in the artroom and this improved my confidence and self esteem


The staff gave me encouragement to try volunteering elsewhere as well to further my confidence.  They helped me to access another local charity and through this I was offered fulltime employment.  I never thought when I first walked into that art room that one day my life would be as good as it is today!

"I’m so grateful for their continuous encouragement and opportunities to grow as a person"