Cards for Covid patients made by Itzel Anaya
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‘Fantastic’ arts course ‘fulfilled’ higher education student and helped her to realise her dream

A 35-year-old higher education student at City of Bristol College who created activity books for patients and ‘thank you’ cards for hospital staff during the pandemic has praised her ‘fantastic’ course.

Itzel Anaya, who will be graduating from the College in November 2021 with an FdA Creative Art Therapy Studies degree, said the College offered ‘exactly what she was looking for’ when she decided to start her studies in 2019.
After completing a short summer programme, Itzel decided to take on the full, two-year course, run in partnership with the University of Plymouth, and is now looking to apply for a top-up year to obtain the full BA qualification.

She said: “It is the most fantastic course I have ever done in the sense that it contained modules which fulfil me mentally and fit my professional aspirations. Unfortunately, the pandemic took away some of the fun part of the course but it still gave me the skills, tools and guidance I needed to achieve my goals.

Not to be put off by the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, Itzel responded to a request from the arts co-ordinator at Southmead Hospital to create ‘get well soon’ and ‘thank you’ cards for patients and staff who are quarantining due to coronavirus. She then went the extra mile by creating hearts for the project to give to each patient in the Intensive Care Unit and in the family unit.

Speaking about the project, she said: “I felt very motivated to link creative practice to this major health crisis as I consider it to be a strong way to connect with the community. I really love expressing emotion through art. I want to show gratitude to the NHS for their invaluable work, and hopefully cheer up somebody whether it is a patient or a member of staff. It reminds them they are valued and not forgotten. Our community values are strong and so are our people!

The College boasts a strong relationship with the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, with many of the Creative Arts Therapy students visiting patients and staff at the hospitals pre-Covid and running activities for patients.

The Creative Arts Therapy course engages people in the arts to address and support mental, emotional, developmental and behavioural disorders. Students like Itzel spend two years learning therapeutic approaches and the theory behind them.

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