AHSW's Director, Trustees, and Members reflect on various aspects of arts, health and wellbeing.

Social Prescribing and ‘Creative Health’ updates

Director’s Blog – March 2020

Firstly, there is still time to buy a ticket for the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance national conference, A Culture of Care, at Derby Museum on 19th and 20th March. Sales close on Friday 6th. The programme looks really inspiring and varied and, if last year is anything to go by, it will be a truly fabulous event. I hope to see you there!

Last week I was at an Arts4Dementia event at the Holburne Museum in Bath. The focus was on social prescribing for people who are waiting for a diagnostic test for dementia. The wait can be a very anxious time and Arts4Dementia have commissioned an artwork by Jane Frere which captures some of that experience. The artwork is touring museums to provide a catalyst for conversations about dementia and the arts. Others speaking at the event included the Clinical Lead for the Bath & North East Somerset (BaNES) Clinical Commissioning Group and the Cabinet Lead for Adult Services at BaNES Council. The NHS Link Workers for social prescribing are not yet in place in BaNES so it was a timely discussion. Arts4Dementia has a searchable data base where you can upload events and activities for people living with dementia and their carers. Please do add anything that is available in the south west.

On the theme of social prescribing, NHS England are hosting two webinars on social prescribing evaluation, on Tuesday 24 March 2020 2-3 pm and Wednesday 25th March 3-4pm. And don’t forget to sign up for our next webinar on Thursday 2nd April at 12 noon. I will be in discussion with Jules Ford, Senior Programme Manager for Social Prescribing and Cultural Commissioning at Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Arts & Health South West’s social prescribing project with Theatre Orchard and the For All Healthy Living Centre in Weston-super-Mare, Community Connections, is now in its second year and the learning from it is informing our regional work. Mark Graham, Chief Executive of the For All Healthy Living Centre, and I will be on a panel discussing the project at a Creative Ageing Convention in Weston on Friday 3rd April. For anyone who works with or cares for older people, this will be a lively afternoon of presentations, provocations and discussion on how creativity can transform the ageing process. If you are an artist or creative activity co-ordinator working with older people you can bring a small display and leaflets about your work. Tickets are just £10 and it is part of Weston’s Arts + Health Weekender  which features over 50 free and ticketed events in both indoor and outdoor places across the town. A family friendly programme of participatory events and professional performances will run alongside talks, creative workshops and hospital-based arts activities that embrace culture in its widest sense. I hope to see you there too!

Those of you who have followed the Creative Health journey will know that Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, recommended “that leaders from within the arts, health and social care sectors, together with service users and academics, establish a strategic centre, at national level, to support the advance of good practice, promote collaboration, coordinate and disseminate research and inform policy and delivery.” Following this, the King’s Fund conducted a feasibility study and further consultation was undertaken at regional events. Plans were developed with the support of a working group including representatives from the four nations of the UK. We are delighted that Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Wellcome have agreed to fund the initial phase of the National Centre for Creative Health, which will be established as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation over the next few months. I will be managing the set-up of the Centre from the beginning of April, alongside my work for Arts & Health South West. More details will be forthcoming soon.


Alex Coulter

5th March 2020

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