A FAMILY run cafe has agreed to exhibit art work created by members of a mental health charity who use the service as an outlet for their rehabilitation.

Baristocats Coffee Lounge, in Commercial Road, has around 14 pieces of art from Ipsum hanging on its walls – the owners even gave them their own special section.

Marcus Kittridge opened his business nearly three years ago after he and his wife Tracey wanted a change in career.

The former engineer said: “A representative of the charity came in one day - she was looking for wall space and we had some available. It was an automatic connection right from the start and a no brainer for us to get involved.

“We gave her the brief of what we wanted to be displayed - cats - and went from there. Most of our artwork in here is cat related.”

Marcus added: “It has worked out really well for both parties. Customers have loved seeing the display and I’ve been extremely impressed by the styles and different range that has been submitted.”

Visitors of the coffee house have been buying some of the work displayed, with six paintings sold already.

Other charities such as Mind and an autism group use this site for meetings.

It has become a hub for people who are struggling in some way, says the business owner.

For many of the artists it was the first time they have had to draw cats or work to a brief of this kind.

Sue Bardwell, an art teacher working for Ipsum, helped organise this project.

She said: “It is incredible to see how being creative can help people in their recovery and wellbeing. Change can be something really powerful.

“We are always looking for exhibition opportunities and for a lot of people just to get a piece of work framed means a massive amount to them but displaying it in a public place helps with their confidentce tremendously.

“Everyone was really happy to find out that this has been made available to them, we have more cat portraits and impressions to come.”

The Swindon based charity supports people by supplying a range of artistic therapies, broadening its operation to complement its core professional counselling.

This includes therapeutic art and music, music therapy, creative writing, meditation and mindfulness and professional training.