Arts on Prescription (AoP) links up artists in the local community with GPs and Health and Social Services to promote the benefits that participation in the arts has on mental health and loneliness (see Issues 129/149). 

This year, from bleak January to Corona lockdown, the Creative workshops have provided 888 placements that have reduced social isolation and connected people to opportunities in their community while also building confidence and resilience.

During the lockdown, AoP was at the forefront of the Zoom craze that has swept the country, expanding its services to cope with vulnerable people impacted by isolation: starting with the art classes, quickly adding singing for wellbeing and mindfulness classes.

They have now received funding to roll out mindfulness classes to NHS workers to help them cope with their stressful jobs. And there are further projects in the pipeline, such as one to capture this historic moment in time for future generations.

Funding plays an important role and as part of their Keep Safe, Stay Connected and Be Creative! Lockdown programme – which led to a surge of referrals – AoP managed to get the backing to provide free Art packs with paints and drawing materials. These arrived last week and are ready to send out.

In the end, it’s all about the impact; this is evidenced by word of mouth as well as feedback from client questionnaires which are part of the programme. Alison Tanner, DWP long-term disability adviser, commented about one participant in the programme: “My client came back with an enthusiasm I hadn’t seen before.’’ And from the carer of a 29-year-old: “That’s the first time I’ve seen Nick smile for ages.”

Participants also talk about the impact AOP has had: “It’s given
me joy,” Joan, aged 69. And: “I felt relaxed and calm for once,” Tim
aged 30. 

Visit the website

See interview on Isolation Station

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