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Challenge Fund 2018

The Challenge Fund is a way for us to help organisations in the south west to raise funds for ongoing arts and health work.

For each year of the Challenge Fund we will choose 3 organisations and match donations to these 3 organisations' fundraising campaigns, up to £2000 each. 

In 2018, our pilot year of the new fund, we selected three projects from across the South West of England, representing how different art forms and projects are profoundly supporting and improving health and wellbeing. We hope people across the South West will recognise and support the important work these and other organisations do to enable and support health and wellbeing by giving generously.


We were delighted to support 3 fantastic organisations in 2018:


  • Rising Voices Wessex
  • Double Elephant Print Workshop
  • Literature Works


These 3 organisations will be fundraising online at different points throughout 2018 and we will be promoting their fundraising campaigns on our website, through our eBulletins, on our social media, and by recording special podcast episodes with each organisation. Stay tuned for these podcasts as ways to find out more about the work that you can support through making a donation, and keep an eye on our ebulletins and social media for much more information about each fundraising campaign in the coming weeks and months.


Please read the profiles of all 3 organisations below, and to donate, visit their crowdfunding pages via the links provided:


Rising Voices Wessex

Rising Voices Wessex is a supportive Community Choir for local people whose lives have been affected by cancer. It forms a long term project to raise public awareness of the benefits of singing to  those affected by cancer, and to promote a positive image of ‘Living with Cancer.’ 

It started as a pilot project in Poole in 2013 - which included evaluation of its health and well-being impact. In addition to the sustained interest in Poole, a second choir formed in Bournemouth in 2015. Eighty to ninety-five people participate in one of the two choirs weekly - and they have established a link with Tenovus “Sing for Life” in South Wales towards building a  network of like-minded choirs. In 2016, Rising Wessex became registered as a charity.

2.5M people in the UK are living with cancer: this will increase to 4M by 2030 - due to the rise in the incidence rate and extension of life expectancy enabled by improving treatments. Cancer is becoming a long term condition that while certainly often impacting on people's lives in ongoing ways, doesn’t need equate to medical dependency. While developments in the management of cancer have increased life expectancy, there has been much less focus on the psychosocial impact of cancer on individuals and their families and carers. However, it is an area where some meaningful research exists.

Research has shown that singing improves self-confidence (Donneellan et al, 2013) and well-being, and encourages creativity and improves memory and breathing techniques (valuable for people with cancer). It also increases relaxation and decreases fatigue in treated cancer survivors (Chuang et al, 2010). A Music Psychologist was commissioned during the choirs first three months to provide independent evaluation, which included monthly health questionnaires, semi structured interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Those interviewed fet overwhelmingly that they experienced both social and psychological benefits.

Further evaluation in 2015 and 2016 have provided positive feedback and anecdotal evidence: One member said that Rising Voices “made a huge difference to my life and my health. My breathing is so much better.” Another commented that Rising Voices was a tremendous help since my wife died. It has been inspiring and socially wonderful.” Several others talk about being a member of the choir as being part of a family. The choirs also benefit those who are carers and those bereaved through cancer - one member described the support as a “lifesaver.” The performances also provide a postive image of “living with cancer” instead of the media created “cancer victim.”

Fundraising Campaign is live! DONATE AT: https://www.justgiving.com/risingvoices-wessex



Double Elephant Print Workshop

Double Elephant Print Workshop’s Print on Prescription service is a ground-breaking social prescribing scheme for mental health. It emerges from 15 years of work delivering artistic printmaking for well-being outcomes with, cumulatively, more than 200 participants. They report increased levels of wellbeing, rediscovering their creativity, and learning new skills. Participants say workshops make them feel ‘like artists, not patients.’ Four participants from a recent series with Devon Recovery have progressed to new artistic and community activities.

Despite extensive referral networks, and excellent outcomes from previous programmes, budget to deliver the services has not caught up with the emerging social prescribing infrastructure. Double Elephant is now raising funds to deliver Print on Prescription workshops on an outreach basis - in new partnerships with frontline care organisations.

Fundraising Campaign is live! DONATE AT: the Double Elephant PayPal Donation Portal



Literature Works

Literature Works is the literature development agency for South West England and an Arts Council NPO. Following a successful pilot, they are establishing a National Memory Day project which uses poetry to promote wellbeing for those living with memory loss and their loved ones.

Memory loss currently affects 81,000 older people living in the SW, 850,000 across the UK.

Their generation learnt poetry by heart in school. The National Memory Day project has practicing poets engaging participants in high energy workshops in libraries, memory cafes and other community settings, recalling poems and through skilled facilitation, creating new work as a group. This creative engagement revives memory, alleviates confusion, helps with speech difficulties and - significantly - creates both new memories and bonds that contribute to improved quality of life for both parties.

Fundraising campaign details and donation link to follow.






Challenge Fund Podcasts 

We are featuring each project in a special series of episodes of The Arts & Health South West Podcast, the only Podcast series dedicated exclusively to exploring and promoting ideas, issues and work in the arts and health sector. You can listen to the Arts & Health South West podcast on iTunes and on Soundcloud.


Talk to us!

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the Arts & Health South West Challenge Fund - and any of these projects further. For more information, please contact Catherine at catalyst@ahsw.org.uk.





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