Our founder, Sydney Nightingale, realising his advancing disabilities would soon
curtail his more active pursuits, took up painting, which he felt could be maintained
in spite of the most crippling handicap. He began to interest friends to spread the
idea, especially among people who had opted out of communal activities because of
some disability. Before long, the response called for the formation of a group meeting
regularly at a local centre. Other groups followed and in due course, the society
was registered as a charity.
How does SODA work?
Most groups meet once a week, some in the afternoon, some in the evenings. We paint
or draw together, using a variety of media, with experienced guidance and encouragement
available to all, and a fine sense of companionship and mutual achievement. Social
occasions are also arranged, and there are opportunities to enter paintings in exhibitions,
and to take part in fund-raising and publicity events. We also have an annual national
Where does the money come from?
Some groups receive grant support from local authorities, whilst others rely mainly
on weekly subscriptions from our painters, plus fund-raising events and appeals to
grant-making trusts. There is an annual membership fee to those who would like to
become members of the society, which enables you to join fully in the society’s activities,
receive a copy of our newsletter, SODA Fountain, and participate in exhibitions.
Can I join one of the groups?
Yes, you certainly can. It is not essential that you have had experience of art.
We also take a broad view of “disabled” you don’t have to be confined to a wheelchair,
for example, though we will be very happy to welcome you if you are. Transport can
usually be arranged for those not otherwise able to get to our meeting places.
Can I be a Volunteer Helper?
Yes, we are always glad to have some able-bodied members in our Groups, particularly
friends or relatives of disabled members. They can join us in painting or help in
various ways to run the group.
Can I form a new Group?
Yes, we would also like to expand our network of groups. If you are interested in
helping to form a Group please contact us. We will give you all the help you need
including a “starter Grant”.
Can I be involved with SODA in other ways?
Yes, we welcome donations, including those under covenant, which are particularly
valuable, and we are always very glad of help with fund-raising and other events.
We also operate a Friends Scheme and and a Corporate Sponsor Scheme.
How can I find out more?
Please email Jean and Colin Skeels - Joint General Secretaries