TSX History and Background

TSX was founded in 2009 by local people who had experienced drug and / or alcohol misuse and its effects physically, mentally and the impact on their lives. For 3 years the organisation has developed activities which reduce social isolation that such conditions engender leading to loss of social skills and ability to communicate within the wider society.

TSX founders Ricky McCarthy and Linda Russ had both suffered from addiction problems and mental health issues which had impacted on not just their lives but also the lives of those around them and at that time they found that the existing agencies did not offer them enough support within the community. Ricky had been on a 12 week art course run by Open Arts part of SEPT which started to help but at the end of the course Ricky was once again left on his own and again found himself in isolation. Because of this Ricky thought long and hard and came up with the idea of starting his own art group where he could make new friends and at the same time help others in similar situations and after putting the idea on paper was lucky enough to meet Linda Russ.

Over the next couple of months they formulated a plan and applied to some funding bodies and were successful gaining funding from Basildon Council, The Tollhurst Fisher Foundation and also the Big Lottery Fund and in the first year obtained charitable status. This led them to open the first TSX art and social drop-in-group at St Andrews Church, Basildon and from day one this group was a success and still has an attendance of between 6 and 30 people per week.

Our aim from day one was to provide a free service which would be open to all members of the community and provide a safe environment where people with addiction or mental health issues could come together with people that had no problems and be accepted for whom they are and not what is wrong with them. This would allow people to break free from their isolation and to also break down the barriers and stigma that such problems cause within the public’s mind. This also meant that people on low incomes had somewhere to go where they could learn new skills, meet new people, make new friends and to join in without worrying about having to pay out money they did not have

which in many cases can be the cause of social isolation and the cause of some mental health issues.

Over the next three years TSX grew steadily and now runs seven weekly groups in Basildon and Chelmsford and has built up partnership links with several other organisations around Essex as well as being provided with space to run groups out of Open Road and Swan Housing.  

Mission Statement

TSX has a mission to develop a network of local arts / support groups that will bridge the gap between excluded / isolated individuals and communities in order to build stronger communities, promote well-being and integration, encouraging the whole community to foster self-help as we come together as a ‘Big Society’.

Through the use of peer to peer support we can help people to overcome and begin to manage their own lives as they move forward with their recovery from substance misuse and mental health issues and to promote social interaction as they begin to reintegrate back into the wider community. We also foster self-help and sign posting with support through volunteers who have personal experience of such issues as addiction, mental health and social isolation. Our aim is to work with other organisations and their clients and through the use of art help them make the transition from the clinical environment over to one of our community art groups and to complement the good work which has been carried out by these organisations.   


TSX has a growing membership which has now exceeded 150 people who access our services and programmes which include:-  

i. TSX Group Development – TSX sets up arts and social groups which address and promote social inclusion for people with mental ill health, addiction and social isolation. Using art as our foundation, we work with each individual, building their confidence to re-join the community and access mainstream activities when appropriate – we currently deliver 7 funded groups located in and around Basildon.  

ii. Volunteering – TSX is completely community owned, led and delivered which enables an ethos of self-help and dependence to be fostered building a stronger community. TSX volunteers are part of groups working hard to help new members join in and integrate. Our equal opportunities policy makes  voluntary service open to people with disabilities who are supported by an able bodied volunteer.  


iii. Exhibitions & Activities – TSX delivers a range of exhibitions e.g. at the Summer Basildon Festival and a newsletter which showcases our members’ artwork – we have reached more than 1,500 people in the past year raising awareness of addiction and mental health. We have been involved in 4 exhibitions and have attended several community events where we run open art workshops as well as delivering two of our own events.


During 2011/12, TSX have been involved in three exhibitions. Two in Basildon Library, and one in the community pop-up-shop in Chelmsford. The exhibitions gave us the opportunity to publicise the work that TSX conduct and also to show of the work that has been produced by some of our members. We are frequently told by people that they cannot draw or paint but once you explain that it is about the enjoyment you gain from just trying new members are always surprised by the results of their work. By showing people paintings at all levels and talking to them we are able to break that fear and they very quickly start to have fun. The exhibitions give us the opportunity to get this across as well as bringing  awareness about addiction and mental ill health which helps to break down the barriers and lift the stigma attached to such issues.

Art Groups

During 2011/12, TSX have built up the numbers of groups to 7 per week. These groups comprise of two community group, three within Open Road, one with EYPDAS and one with Swan Housing.  Although these groups are aimed at specific people they are also open to any member of the community and we have found that some community members do come along to the adult groups at Open Road. Our Open Road groups have now been running for two years with an average attendance of between 4 to 8 people and some of our members now attend our community groups. Over the past 2 years we have been able to show just how well two organisations can work together for the benefit of clients and how well TSX can complement the great work that Open Road provide for people looking for the help to quit their addiction. This is part of the connected care approach where it is the client that matters and not to just do what is convenient for staff. TSX Volunteers are able to Taylor the help and support they give to an individual and also able to refer back should any issues arise. Open Road / TSX groups are open to 18+.

During the course of 2012 TSX got together with EYPDAS and opened a group for under 18s. Again Open Road was kind enough to give us space in there Vange office to run the group. Like all new ventures it is hard to predict how well this would do but we are pleased to say that it exceeded all our expectations and now has an attendance of between 4 to 8 people weekly. Working with under 18s brings its own challenges and our volunteers have been exemplary and with the support of EYPDAS staff have learnt new skills. The youngsters have had the opportunity to try painting, drawing, air-dry clay, card making and even made Christmas decorations which were put up in the reception area at Open Road. We hope to continue the success in 2013.

The Chelmsford Open Road group for over 18s is also doing very well and through the hard work of our volunteer, Greig Davey now has a steady attendance. Greig started out as a member of the art group and his passion for the work TSX do has been a great example to us and to Open Road. Like all the TSX groups Chelmsford is open to anyone over 18. We have also received a

commission work from Chelmsford which is to paint a representative work charting a journey through addiction which will be mounted up the stairwell panels of the 3 storey building. This work will be done by members and volunteers with the support of an out-side artist who has agreed to give up his time for free. A very exciting project.

During 2012 we began work with Swan Housing at the Foyer Vange working with under 21s.  The group has been up and down but normally we get two or three regulars with many other residents dropping in just for a chat. This has been a very rewarding group as we have been able to address many problems including addiction. The personal experiences of our volunteers, has allowed us to pass on valuable information and referrals and has even helped in recovery and although the numbers may be low the quality of support is excemply and to us that is more important.  

Exhibition held at Open Road in Vange, Basildon

Partnerships & Networks

TSX has developed networks and links to progress our work which includes linking with 3rd sector Organisations [e.g. Open Road, CDAS, DAT, DAP Open Arts, Shaw Trust etc.] and Statutory Agencies such as Borough of Basildon and Essex County Council. We are developing a partnership with Open Arts on delivering 12 week art courses in the Basildon area and we are also a partner in delivering the ‘Connecting Care’ Programme which is a government initiative delivered through councils & PCTs.

One area that we are currently working on with partners is a shared volunteer programme. The focus is on training your volunteers to deliver TSX groups. By doing this we believe that TSX will be able to expand its network of groups throughout Essex with any organisation who wishes to join in this scheme. We are already working with Open Road and EYPDAS to implement this year and hope that others will wish to do the same.

Events In June TSX organised a working together event at Wat Tyler park, Pitsea, Basildon. The aim for the day was to bring together other organisations for a family fun day. Wat Tyler were kind enough to give us free space in the park where we all set up our stalls to publicise our work. The day was attended by TSX, Open Road, EYPDAS, Family Mosaic and Rethink. TSX set up and run an open art studio, an animation workshop and face painting and laid on a picnic and from 10am to 3pm we were swamped by the number of people wanting to take part. We also attended the St Georges Day celebrations earlier in the year at Wat Tyler and that too was swamped by the numbers of people wishing to take part. During the course of both days our volunteers were rushed off their feet with so many children and young adults that sat down and painted. We also spent a lot of time explaining about TSX and the work that we do and about addiction and mental health. We would estimate that over the two days 200+ people took part in the workshop and many more came to find out about the work ourselves and other organisations do. We are also pleased to say that Wat Tyler were so impressed with the response that we have been invited back in 2013.


In 2012 Basildon council ran an awards event called “Play Your Part”. The awards were open for nominations to be made for people in the area who have made outstanding contributions to people and the community. There were several categories and we were pleased to be invited to the award ceremony.  The night was very well organised and we enjoyed seeing the winners of each category as well as being entertained by a band and singer. To our surprise Ricky McCarthy the founder of TSX had been nominated for the category of “Volunteering through adversity” and even more by the fact he won the award. This was a great tribute to the work he had done in building TSX to what it is today and to have that recognition. When asked Rick said “there are so many people that deserve this award and it must have been very hard for the judges and I feel so proud to have won. This is a reflection on the whole of the TSX team”. We would like to thank all those people who nominated Ricky.

After the event TSX were contacted by Basildon council and offered a commission work which was to decorate a six foot high letter S and when completed would join other letters which spell out “Good For Essex”. We agreed and we had the letter delivered to one of our church halls we use. Over the next few weeks we worked on this using spray acrylic paint and cut-out speech bubbles which were glued on. It was a great piece of art to work on and below are some photos of the project.

Future Plans

TSX plans to remain embedded in the community as a volunteer led initiative to engage the community and foster self help, however we plan to add 2 staff members during 2013 to lead the programmes and organisation. There have been many great moments during 2012 but now we have to look to the future. Our main push this year will be to implement our shared volunteer program as a positive way to expand the TSX network and to bring this too as many people as we can around Essex.

Like all charities all our work is dependent on fund raising which as you will know is becoming harder in the present economic climate and with all the cutbacks in funding opportunities. We are hopeful that our previous success in fund raising will continue into 2013.  Our model is one that is both unique and inspiring and one that has been recognised as a very beneficial and complementary service to much of the work carried out by statutory and third sector organisations.  

We hope that this has given you some idea about the work that we do and should you like to know more then please get in touch with us. Our strength as a charity has been both community based and helped by the strong working relationships we have with our partners and we hope that we may be able to work with you very soon. From all of the team at TSX we wish you a productive new year.  



Phone: 01268 583303  Mob:07582 681906

19 Thorolds Vange, Pitsea, Basildon, Essex SS16 4SL  

Reg Charity number 1138367

TSX REVIEW 2011/12

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