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Over recent years, the U.K government has realised the positive impact creativity can have on our health and wellbeing. This has led to brand new ‘social prescribing,’ and health commissions that tackle some of our current health issues.

Social Prescribing

What is it?

The NHS have begun to prescribe creative and community activities to people:

  • with one or more long-term conditions
  • who need support with their mental health
  • who are lonely or isolated
  • who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing

This means when someone visits their GP they may be referred to a ‘Link Worker,’ who will talk with them and find local groups and activities that will hopefully improve their wellbeing. These activities could be singing, dancing, arts and crafts, gardening or walking.

Social Prescribing in Dorset

Every GP Practice in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole is getting a Link Worker attached to their practice. This means local, creative groups and activities will be needed to refer people to.

Health Commissioning

What is it?

The public health sector commissions organisations to deliver services that help tackle current health issues in the country.

Health Commissioning in Dorset

We at the Arts Development Company are trying to find ways to support small arts organisations and individuals in Dorset to access health commissions. This is an ongoing process and we’ll keep you up-to-date on our website and social media.

How Can Artists, Practitioners and Arts Organisations Get Involved?

This is still very new and currently there are few opportunities, but in the very near future we want to increase the amount of artists, practitioners and arts organisations that run groups, regular and one-off creative activities and commissioned projects for the public health sector. This will be ideal for any individuals or organisations who already work in, or are interested in:

  • Art therapy
  • Socially-engaged art
  • Community engagement

If you are an artist or creative organisation based in Dorset and interested in delivering education, community based workshops, projects or programmes – please do get in touch with us through

Top Tips:        

  • Design a workshop that can be accessed by members of your local community.
  • Pitch it at a level that anyone can take part in without previous experience, but can gain experience and skills as they progress.
  • It’s more about the taking part and how that makes someone feel than the final output that they achieve.
  • Think about an appropriate venue, number of participants and cost per head
  • Make sure you have Public Liability Insurance and a DBS check from within the last three years.
  • Consider basic training in for example, dementia awareness, mental health awareness and decide who/what area you want to focus on.

Further Reading

National Academy for Social Prescribing