An exceptional person is leaving our Board of Directors!

“What a journey it has been. As founding Chair of Arc, I was officially appointed as an Arc Board member and Michael, Arc’s former Chief Executive, was officially appointed as Company Secretary on 17th November 2004, the day Arc was incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee, in preparation for Arc’s launch in April 2005. It took Michael and myself 18 months’ preparation to legally set Arc up as an independent Charitable Company, produce the Company documents and formally gain approval of the split from Stockport Mind’s Board.

Previously I had served as Chair and Trustee of Stockport Mind, following on from its founder, under which MAPS (now Arc) was initially nurtured as a project for 10 years, reporting directly to the Board. So, all in all, I have straddled at least 25 years of Arc’s ever-changing development and growth.

It’s been an amazing journey from humble beginnings with Michael leading the organisation’s day to day management as Chief Executive Officer and now seeing Jacqui as Arc’s Lead Officer. Thank you for such an incredible journey, for investing in the important legacy Arc is today and for trusting in me and our Board of Directors. Let’s all continue to make Arc a magical place to be, by allowing the quality of connection through creativity to flow and flourish.”

Julia McBryde, Arc Chairperson 2004 – 2020


1995  The Mind Arts Project (MAPS) opens, at Apsley Cottage in Greek Street, with artist Michael Anderson as co-ordinator. The project is managed by Stockport & District Mind, whose management board is led by Chair Julia McBryde. Initially focussed on the visual arts.

1997 MAPS relocates to Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Greg St.  Jacqui Wood joins as assistant co-ordinator and activities increase to include drama, puppetry, film-making and creative writing.

1998 Continuing to today, creative activities begin with patients in Mental Health Unit at Stepping Hill Hospital.

2003 BBC Radio Afternoon Play ‘City Of Dreams’ is broadcast on World Mental Health Day, written by participants including current Trustee, Kevin Brosnahan In 2004 City of Dreams was shortlisted for Mental Health Media Awards.

2004 The first of many Social Work students come on placement from a range of North West Universities.

April 2005  MAPS becomes Arc – Arts for Recovery in the Community, an independent charity and limited company, with Chair of the Trustee Board, Julia McBryde.

2013 / 14 Young People’s Arc (YPA) established, after a series of pilot partnership projects.

2015 A redesigned arts and wellbeing programme is launched, including Community Outreach and Creative Challenge projects.

June 2016 A major redeveloped of Arc Centre launched by Ann Coffey MP & Andrew Gwynne MP, with gallery, refreshment area & public offer.

2017 Adult arts for wellbeing programme increases to include perinatal programme for mums and Ageing Well programme for older, isolated people.

2018 We Are Dreamers – major commission for SMBC to mark 100 years since the end of WWI, and The Other in Mother – our first touring exhibition, funded by Arts Council England.

Novembers 2019  Arc relocates to Hat Works, Wellington Mill, working closely with Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

September 2020 Julia McBryde retires, Safia Griffin assumes the role of Chair.


Throughout all this time Julia McBryde has provided invaluable support to the team, championed our participants and been a constant steadying influence with our funders and partners.

Always having time for others and acknowledged by all as being warm and welcoming.


“There is often a disconnect between those in the upper echelons of an organisation and the people on the ground. But Julia was one of those people who was as comfortable with a paintbrush in her hand as she was standing in front of an audience in an auditorium.” Arc participant/volunteer

We all wish her well!