Gillian Lever

Birmingham and Sandwell Different Strokes

For several years Lever Arts have been working with Birmingham and Sandwell Different Strokes. Different Strokes champions peer support for younger stroke survivors and supports members in achieving an active recovery throughout their lives. During the Pandemic the network has been, and is, vital in providing a lifeline to stroke survivors living in the City. COVID has meant that people living with stroke have been more isolated than ever before. Over the past two years it has often been very difficult for people to access the therapy services that they need, it has also been challenging for stroke survivors to socialise and develop supportive relationships.

In January Lever Arts worked with Birmingham and Sandwell Different Strokes to submit a funding proposal to facilitate more family art workshops, something that we have partnered on previously. We are hopeful that more art sessions will be able to take place this year.

Jake Lever

Wake Up - Preparing for Greenbelt 2022

Lever Arts is looking forward to Greenbelt Festival . Over the August Bank Holiday weekend (26th - 29th August) Greenbelt will host a multi-arts festival programme of music, visual and performing arts, spirituality, comedy, talks and discussion. Greenbelt is committed to the arts, faith and justice and to its underlying values of tolerance, dialogue and hope.

Lever Arts is part of Sew Far Sew Good - a family art collective. We work with brother-in-law and artist Phill Hopkins and sister-in-law Susie Hopkins (a primary teacher with a special interest in art and the imaginative nurturing of children’s spiritual lives) to devise art workshops for the Children and Family programme at Greenbelt.

We are excited by this year’s ‘Wake Up’ theme and by the prospect of returning to the Festival at beautiful Boughton House.


Gillian Lever

Harbours and Havens

December was a time of reflection and of looking forward to 2022. Becky Morse-Brown (Art Therapist) and I have been preparing an online ‘Creative Quiet Morning’ titled ‘Harbours and Havens’ for Spiritual Companions, Accompaniers and Directors in the Diocese of Derby. The morning, which will take place in late January, is inspired by the life and work of the artist Alfred Wallis and will include a visual introduction, time for practical art making and opportunities for sharing. Alfred Wallis went to sea as a young man, became a marine supplier and then, in his seventies, started painting ‘for company’. Wallis is now recognised as one of the most original British artists of the twentieth century. His harbour, lighthouse and voyaging themes will provide starting points for our own creative response and spiritual journeying on the day.

Jake Lever

A journey by post to Myanmar

Some of the people who have ordered  Do the Little Things boats have got in touch to share the stories behind their boat’s journey with me. With their permission, I am sharing a message that I received recently by someone who sent a boat to a friend in Myanmar.

“In 2006 a friend and I were invited to travel to Myanmar (Burma) to train people living around Lake Inle who had no provision for education or teachers because they had been displaced by the military junta. With the help of a young man called Tun Shwe we travelled around the villages in boats that are uncannily similar to your golden boats. For the next 10 years we retuned for a month at a time, working with students to develop their teaching and English language skills. Sadly, we haven’t been able to go to Myanmar for the past few years, due to the pandemic. We really wanted to send a boat to Tun Shwe, but parcels sent in the past have always ‘disappeared’. To our delight and amazement, your beautiful  little boat arrived safely, and Tun Shwe has taken it to show our friends in Myanmar. This is so symbolic to us and is equally symbolic to our Burmese friends to know that it has come from England and know that they have not been
forgotten during this very difficult time. It’s truly a miracle boat - thank you!”


Jake Lever 

‘Do the Little Things’ enters its final phase 

Starting in November 2020, ‘Do the Little Things’ has been running continuously for over a year.  Around 350 boats have been made by me and sent by participants all over the globe, from Canada to Cairo, New York to New Zealand.  Many people have found this to be a rich and meaningful form of connection with loved ones who they have missed seeing in person during the pandemic.  This phase of the project will finish at the end of 2021.  I will then chart all the journeys that the boats have made on a map of the world, drawing it by hand to show the starting point and destination of each boat.  So, if you would still like to order a boat, please do so by ordering from our shop by the end of December and if you have sent boats already, do let me know the starting point and destination by contacting me here.  Once the map has been completed, I will contact participants who will be invited to purchase a copy of the map from our shop.

Gillian Lever


Last month Ink, Sweat and Tears featured ’Shine’,  a poem by Rosie Miles, written in dialogue with my painted collage of the same title ’Shine’ (The painted collage is featured below and Rosie’s poem ‘Shine’ can be seen on the Ink, Sweat and Tears website here).

Ink, Sweat and Tears is a UK based webzine which publishes and reviews poetry, prose, prose-poetry, word and image pieces and everything in between. Their tastes are eclectic and magpie-like and they aim to publish something new every day.

Rosie Miles is based in Birmingham, and widely published in poetry magazines. Her debut collection CUTS’ (HappenStance, 2015) and her poem ‘You enter’ is etched into King’s Heath urban village square. She was selected for the first cohort of ACE/Nine Arches Press Dynamo Mentees in 2017. 

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