Reach for the Stars Choir, Larne Adult Centre

Launch of our first Arts and Wellbeing Strategy

The Trust has, for the first time, launched a five year arts and wellbeing Strategy “Creating Healthy Lives Through the Arts”.Staff holding the new Strategy

The Strategy has been developed in recognition of the impact the arts have been found to have in the promotion of good health, reducing vulnerability and the treatment and management of conditions.

Launching it, Chief Executive Tony Stevens, outlined the role the arts can play: “Recent research and evidence based practice has shown that the arts can make a major contribution to both the prevention of ill health and the treatment and management of long term conditions. This strategy provides clear direction for the delivery of arts and wellbeing in the Northern area, over the next five years. I would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation events. Having listened to these key messages, we have used these themes to inform our vision and develop a creative and innovative strategy.

In recent years the Trust has worked in partnership with a wide range of organisations to develop a number of successful arts-based programmes both within Trust facilities and at a local Dancers from The Base, Cookstowncommunity level. This has included visual art, crafts, creative writing, poetry, dance, drama, film making, digital art, photography, music sessions and singing groups.

In 2019 a decision was taken to produce a more sustainable plan for the arts. Over 150 participants fed into a consultation process with a staff survey and four consultation workshops in Portstewart, Magherafelt, Newtownabbey and Ballymena.

The outcome is a five year Strategy that aims to widen access and involvement in the arts, to work with community partners to introduce and promote the use of art, to embed a culture within the Trust that sees the arts as an integral part of service provision and to promote innovation in the arts.

Presentation to Tony StevensHugh Nelson, Head of the Health and Wellbeing Team, spoke of the next steps: “Together with our partners, we will be now be developing a programme of arts for wellbeing for each locality. We welcome contributors with a shared interest in arts and wellbeing who can join the partnership groups being set up for your area and would encourage anyone interested to please get in touch.”

Anyone interested in being involved in the outworkings of the strategy within their community should contact Nicola Arbuckle, Health and Wellbeing Manager, on 028 2563 5575 or email Nicola.arbuckle@northerntrust.hscni.net.

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