CAMILLE Piper is already a stalwart figure in the deaf community having founded the Southend Deaf Pub.

Now she is spearheading a 12 week art and wellbeing group in Chalkwell Park's Metal Art School in a bid to "break down barriers of isolation".

As a member of the deaf community herself, Camille says she understands the struggles and isolation that come with belonging to a group that can be easily socially isolated.

Perhaps this is what also spurred her five-year journey on to train to become a qualified counsellor, which she achieved this year.

She said: "I have been interested in specialising in counselling with deaf people, as there are not many counsellors out there that are deaf, have deaf awareness with an understanding of the culture or can use BSL (British Sign Language) in sessions."

Camille approached NetPark Wellbeing - run by Southend City Council and Metal Arts organisaion - with an idea to run the 12 week art wellbeing group for the deaf community in Southend.

Emma Mills, who runs NetPark Wellbeing, said: "We were thrilled to be able to offer the Metal Art School as a regular place to come each week and provide a space for getting together, encouraging interaction to break down the barriers of isolation.

"Award winning art facilitator Ian Wilson will assist Camille in running this 12 week group, which will involve creative expression.

"Starting on Wednesday July 13, this 12 week group is for over 18’s.

"Run by Camille - a qualified counsellor who has a hearing disability and is a fluent BSL communicator - we will be using different art materials; paint, felt tips, colouring pencils, collage materials and digital art to create art for personal wellbeing.

"No experience is required.

"All art materials and refreshments will be provided free of charge."

Talking of the Southend Deaf Pub, a group which meets once a month in various locations, Camille added: "I set up Southend Deaf Pub back in February 2019 after learning that over the years in other locations, deaf clubs have been closing down.

"Many hearing-impaired people are proud to be deaf and are proud of their deaf identity.

"The Southend Deaf Pub helps to stop isolation and brings confidence to the regulars that attend frequently. We aim to give access to events, courses, and meet-ups with people of all levels of hearing disabilities".

The NetPark Wellbeing Hearing Impaired and Deaf Art Group starts at 1:30pm - 3:30pm and will run consecutively every Wednesday afternoon.

Metal Art School is situated in Chalkwell Park, next to the public car park.

Book a space by contacting Emma Mills at or texting 07918360374