Mark Whitehead 04 October 2017

New guide encourages cooperation between arts and health sector

A new guide aims to encourage people in the arts and health services to work together to prevent illness and improve wellbeing.

The Art of the Possible, produced by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), is aimed at local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, NHS hospital trusts and other health bodies.

It says studies increasingly highlight the positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people taking part in arts and culture.

Research carried out for a cross-party group of MPs recently highlighted several examples of savings made because hospital admissions were reduced as a result of arts projects.

Jessica Harris, cultural commissioning programme manager at the NCVO, said: ‘Large numbers of arts and cultural organisations are developing expertise in working with people to prevent ill-health and enable management of long-term complex conditions.

‘These same organisations are frequently working with those whom commissioners find hard to engage, so bringing the two together really makes sense.’

Alan Higgins, chair of the Association of Directors of Public Health’s arts and health policy group and director of public health at Oldham Council, said: ‘There is huge opportunity for health professionals to work with their local arts sector to engage with local populations, and to prevent ill health and support people to manage existing conditions.'

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