In 2012 the GMB Fellowship ran a short writing residency in the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall for health professionals, people with mental health problems and others.
An introductory session led by poet and trained counsellor John Glenday was offered to health professionals and explored how to use creative writing in professional practice.
This was followed in the course of the weekend by four writing workshops, each lasting for two hours led by John Glenday and writer, researcher and careers consultant Rosie Alexander.
The weekend culminated in a public reading held in the St Magnus Centre of writing drafted in the workshops.
The writing workshops and a call for submissions led to the publication of To the World, an anthology of poetry, prose and memoir edited by Rosie Alexander and published in 2012.
The residency led also to two follow-up writing courses during 2013, each lasting for six weeks. The Beat the Blues writing group sessions, led by Rosie Alexander and Alison Miller, were aimed at encouraging people with mild mental health problems to use writing as a tool for dealing with depression and anxiety.
The courses were supported by ‘See me’, Orkney Minds, the George Mackay Brown Fellowship, the Blide Trust, Orkney Library & Archives and Scottish Book Trust.