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

Webinars: can the arts help reduce loneliness?

Director’s Blog – September 2019

At risk of boring you, I’ll repeat a couple of things that I wrote about in the August newsletter. The Rule of 7 says I need to tell you at least seven times… I hope you have the two webinars on loneliness in your diaries: 1st October and 8th October from 12-1pm. They will be recorded so that you can watch them afterwards, but you will need to be registered to be able to access the recordings. It’s free to register and you can sign up to be sent the link here. On 1st October, Martin White, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager at Public Health England South West, and I will will be joined by Jayne Howard, Director of Arts Well in Cornwall. Jayne will present a case study and consider the wider context of social prescribing.

On 31st October, Jayne is giving a joint keynote at our Annual Conference with Steve Brown, Deputy Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. They will be presenting a new strategic partnership for culture and health across Cornwall. We also have have Francis Mason, Head of Partnerships, People and Housing at Torbay Council speaking with Cat Radford from Torbay Culture about their partnership work with care homes. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the Community Connections Social Prescribing project in South Ward, Weston-super-Mare, involving Alliance Homes, the For All Healthy Living Centre and Theatre Orchard. Delegates will have lots of opportunities to engage with and contribute to the development of our collaborative regional strategy.

On 1st November we are delivering the conference in partnership with Public Health England South West and our focus is on the regional strategy priority areas of loneliness and mental health. Keynote speakers will be Charlene Mulhern, National Programme Manager for Public Mental Health at Public Health England talking about the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health, and Dr Daisy Fancourt, talking about her work on community assets and mental health and the MARCH network. We hope to see lots of you at the conference and you can buy your tickets here.

There has been a flurry of news about social prescribing in the last week. Articles in the GuardianIndependent and BBC highlight the value of activities such as joining a choir or gardening in response to a Public Health England report on the problems of dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicine. Addiction to prescription drugs is of course a huge problem in the USA and this report aims to prevent the same happening here.

Finally, you still have time to contribute to the Arts Council England ten year strategy consultation. There is a welcome focus on health and wellbeing and it would be great if you could endorse this as a priority for the next ten years. The consultation closes on 23rd September.


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