AN ARTS project tackling social isolation among older people, an evaluation of the impact of heritage collections on mental health, and a project taking music to the bedsides of sick children have been singled out for praise in this year’s Arts and Health Awards.
At a time when the NHS is facing enormous challenges with funding and re-organisation, it is encouraging to see that across the UK there are so many imaginative partnerships between arts organisations and acute and community trusts making a significant contribution to public health and wellbeing
Organised by the Royal Society for Public Health, the initiative recognises excellence and innovation in the contributions of creative arts organisations towards improving wellbeing. This year the theme was the contribution of arts, music and cultural organisations to community health and healthcare.
In total, four main prizes have been awarded out of more than 40 entries. Prizes for excellence in research have also been announced. The winners are:
Professor Stephen Clift, chairman of the awards committee, said: "We were enormously impressed by the range and quality of nominations received this year. At a time when the NHS is facing enormous challenges with funding and re-organisation, it is encouraging to see that across the UK there are so many imaginative partnerships between arts organisations and acute and community trusts and excellent arts projects making a significant contribution to public health and wellbeing."
A spokesman for Ex Cathedra said of its work at Birmingham Children's Hospital: "We believe that children who are in hospital for long or regular periods are equally entitled to access to the arts as when living in their own communities. Singing Medicine provides this access by using the far-ranging and wonderful benefits of singing to brighten the lives of children and their families."
And an organiser at Dulwich Picture Gallery added: "Our efforts include teaming up with local GP surgeries to reach out to those overlooked by other institutions. Nurses with special responsibilities for older people invite patients they feel are most at risk of isolation to creative workshops at the gallery. "Several years of experience in this have shown that art can deliver a real tonic. Participants feel more confident and positive, concentrate better, and often forget their aches and pains. The individuals learn new skills in sympathetic and stimulating surroundings, make friends and start re-integrating into their communities."