The roots of Mixed Fish go back some 50 years, first established as The Friends of Woodlands 1962-2003 and then The Friends of Elmwood 2003-2011.
In 1962, a group of staff, families and friends with a starting sum of £42.17 built up a new charity dedicated to providing time and resources to children and adults who were associated with Woodlands – a hospital specialising in support for people with learning disabilities.
From 1988 until 2002, they supported many arts-based activities including a weekly drama group and the first and subsequent Aberdeen Festivals of Drama, a unique event that brought people together from across the North East of Scotland to participate in drama, music & dance.
As social policy changed, and people moved into the community, Woodlands Hospital closed its doors. In 2003 a specialist unit, Elmwood opened on the Cornhill Hospital site. The Friends of Woodlands became the Friends of Elmwood. Their focus changed to support people now scattered across the region to maintain friendships. In 2011 the Committee of The Friends of Elmwood met to vote on whether the charity should be wound down as the need to keep people in touch had dwindled.
Attending that meeting was Philippa Roberts, who had been involved with the charity since 1988 when she had organised and launched the first Festival of Sport & Drama, an annual festival which ran until 2001.
A constant in supporting people to access the arts and the performing arts, Philippa suggested that instead of dissolving the charity she would like the opportunity to re-invent it.
Experience has taught them that there isn’t enough variety of opportunity in arts provision for people with learning disabilities. Often expectations of what’s possible are limited not only by what’s available but also by ill-formed perceptions of what people want and what people are capable of. With the blessing of the exiting committee, the first steps were taken to move forward and be part of this exciting and challenging time of change.
In the summer of 2011, the new committee was voted in and the first of many discussions began to establish a new focus for the charity.
The amalgamation of two performance groups “Big Fish Little Fish” and “Mixed Company” prompted them to ask the existing members to think of a good name for the new group – as a result “Mixed Fish” was born.
Mixed Fish is committed to an ethos of inclusion, the advancement of self-determination, and access to arts & personal development opportunities, leading to an improvement in the life experiences, health and the status of people with learning disabilities.
For further information, contact:
2 Poynernook Road