National Centre for Creative Health

A National Centre for Creative Health will be launched on 9th March 2021. It aims to make creativity integral to health and social care systems.

At the online launch of the National Centre for Creative Health, Chair of Trustees, Lord Howarth of Newport, and guest speaker, Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of the NHS Confederation, will reflect on how the arts, culture and creativity can support people and organisations in the context of the pandemic and increasing health inequalities.

The Centre has been formed in response to the Creative Health report, the result of a two-year inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. Evidence from research shows that engagement with the arts and culture is beneficial for health and wellbeing. The Creative Health report brings together over a thousand published studies outlining the role of arts and creativity in supporting health across the life course.

Lord Howarth of Newport, Chair of Trustees of the National Centre for Creative Health said: “This is an exciting and very important moment. It’s an opportunity to make a difference. We know from thousands of studies that creativity is vital for everyone’s wellbeing. The new Centre will advance research, inform policyand promote good practice and collaboration in order to foster the conditions for creative health to be integral to health and social care systems. “The creative health movement believes that active engagement with the arts and culture – whether through our own creative practice or through our enjoyment of the creative practice of others – is beneficial for the wellbeing and health of all of us. Health inequalities are a key priority for the Centre; lack of access to cultural and creative opportunities too often mirrors other inequalities. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced and increased inequalities and made this work all the more urgent.”

During the pandemic, a remarkable transformation of creative health practice has enabled people who are vulnerable and isolated to continue to engage and be supported. At the launch of the National Centre for Creative Health, a person living with a brain injury due to stroke will talk about their experience of making the Opera “I Look For the Think” made in lockdown with 60 Stroke ‘Ambassadors’ and the Garsington Opera Adult Community Company. Participant Pauline Boye, a former nurse, said of the project: “It was very touching, the songs about how we leave hospital and start a new life – I loved singing those parts. It was very moving. I look forward to joining each session, I like the exercise and I wish we could do it every day because it makes me feel happy, my mood, each time we perform I feel a bit more confident, a little goes a long way”

The experience of healthcare staff during the pandemic has led to growing concern for their own health and mental wellbeing as we emerge from the crisis. At the launch of the National Centre for Creative Health, we will be joined by Rachel Clarke, palliative care doctor and author of ‘Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic.’ In the coming months and years, enabling health and social care staff to engage in creative health programmes will support their own wellbeing as well as that of their patients. The Centre is working with Integrated Care Systems to explore models for integrating creative health at a systems level through a programme of ‘Hubs’.

Dr Jane Povey, Clinical Lead for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), said: “I am thrilled to be celebrating the launch of our National Centre for Creative Health. This is extremely timely since we will be able to work with Integrated Care Systems as they emerge across the country. This will ensure creative approaches to health and wellbeing become integral to health and care provision. In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, we are looking forward to playing a part in enabling this, to benefit our community and share the approaches we evolve with other Integrated Care Systems.”

The National Centre for Creative Health will be launched at 2pm on 9th March 2021 at an online event.

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