Food for thought: Welsh ‘food artist’ joins Samaritans and Network Rail for Brew Monday: Nathan Wyburn art 1MB

Monday 17 Jan 2022

Food for thought: Welsh ‘food artist’ joins Samaritans and Network Rail for Brew Monday

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Wales & Borders

Britain’s Got Talent contestant Nathan Wyburn’s latest artwork displayed at Network Rail stations to encourage open conversations about mental health 

Network Rail and Samaritans have teamed up with artists to display their uplifting and wellbeing inspired pieces of work this Brew Monday (17 January) at railway stations across the UK 

Cardiff based artist Nathan Wyburn will have his work shown at stations throughout Wales. Nathan has competed on Britain’s Got Talent and is known for creating art with food, including portraits of Mariah Carey and Tim Peake.  

Nathan has had his creativity stalled by his own mental health struggles and anxiety. Thankfully, talking about his struggles has helped him in recovering and has inspired his latest piece: for Brew Monday Nathan created an uplifting portrait showing two people connecting, made with coffee and biscuits.  

The artwork is hoped to inspire and uplift those in need during these times of uncertainty on one of the most difficult days of the year, Blue Monday.  

Both organisations have worked together before and have called on those working in the railway industry to take a moment and think about their own mental health and to sit and chat with their colleagues or loved ones over a cuppa’. This positive trend has led to the renaming of this challenging day to Brew Monday. 

Other artistic work will also be shown in stations across the UK, including artwork from former volunteer, illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary wellbeing artist Emelie Hryhoruk.  

Nathan said: “Having suffered with anxiety, panic attacks and bouts of depression for many years, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to do anything in those moments, let alone talk – but take it from me, once you open up about how you’re feeling, it can be life-changing. I’m so proud to be supporting Brew Monday and really hope my coffee art catches someone’s eye and makes them think to pick up the phone to a friend. You never know just how much a simple conversation could help someone.”  

Julie Bentley, Samaritans’ CEO, said: “We’re so grateful to the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday again this year. Throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions, the pandemic has shown us that staying connected with others has been a vital part of getting people through difficult times. We know the impact talking and listening can have, and a cup of tea and a chat won’t solve everything, but it can be a start. You don’t have to have all the answers or solutions, you just need to listen and start a conversation which could just be the support that someone needs.” 

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, commented: “Looking after our passengers and staff is so important to our railway family and I know there is more we can all do to help those in crisis. Every one of us has the skills to help someone in need and Brew Monday is a powerful reminder of the simple steps we can take. I am really pleased we are once again able to join Samaritans in our stations to reach out to commuters and those who may be struggling with their mental health.”  

Krista Sexton, Head of Operational Risk at Network Rail added: "We're proud to support Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign as it provides a simple but effective way for us to reach out to our railway colleagues and loved ones who might be needing a little extra support. The past two years, during the pandemic, have been difficult on many people's mental health but, we know, not everybody always wants to share their concerns. This poignant campaign reminds us to stop and listen and encourage those struggling to open up and have a chat over a cup of tea." 

Bethan Jelfs, People & Change Director at Transport for Wales added: “We’re proud to once again be supporting The Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign at stations across Wales to help spread the message that it is important everyone reaches out to check on family and friends and also takes time to look after their own mental health.  With almost two years of Covid-related restrictions, which has impacted on some people more than others, this vital awareness campaign is needed more than ever.” 

Rail Minister, Wendy Morton, said: “Every year Brew Monday is a great success and shows how something as small as sitting down and talking to someone over a cup of tea can make all the difference. It makes me immensely proud to see the hard work put in by the rail industry, in collaboration with Samaritans, to make sure staff can be there for those people most in need.” 

The Brew Monday support comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme. Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail, on behalf of the rail industry, to reduce suicides on the railway for over 10 years, having trained over 24,000 rail and BTP staff to look out for passengers and make conversation if they feel someone might need help. 

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Callum Jones

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