The power of the Arts

10 August 2017

People's Health Trust submitted evidence to a recent report on the impact the arts can make to people's health and wellbeing.

A recent Inquiry Report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing examines the powerful contribution the arts can make to people’s health and wellbeing.

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing looks at the ways arts and culture can support communities to stay happy and healthy, and makes recommendations to improve policy and practice.

The recent report conducted by King’s College London and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, presents the findings of two years of research and discussions. It brings together views from the charity sector, the arts, and from health and social care. Other contributors include health commissioners, academics, the Department of Health, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, NHS England, Public Health England, Care Quality Commission, the Cabinet Office, Arts Council England, and the Local Government Association.

The group, co-chaired by Rt Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport and Conservative MP Ed Vaizey, argues that the arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support people to have a better quality of life. They can also help Britain to meet major health and social care challenges, including loneliness, mental health, ageing and long-term conditions; and help save money in the health service and social care.

In response to the call for evidence the Trust submitted five case studies in August last year, taken from the first round of the independent evaluation of its Active Communities programme. The evaluation found that 85 per cent of projects have seen a reduction in isolation among participants.

People’s Health Trust is mentioned within the report:

“Another recurrent funder of arts and health activity is the People’s Health Trust, funded by 51 society lotteries through the Health Lottery. This charity explicitly addresses the social determinants of health by supporting projects that increase community control and build social bonds.”

“Several arts and health projects have been funded under its Active Communities programme, which offers local grants of between £5,000 and £25,000; evaluation of this strand of work found an 85 percent reduction in isolation among participants.”

Contributing to the report, Professor Sir Michael Marmot said: “The mind is the gateway through which the social determinants impact upon health, and this report is about the life of the mind. It provides a substantial body of evidence showing how the arts, enriching the mind through creative and cultural activity, can mitigate the negative effects of social disadvantage. Creative Health should be studied by all those commissioning services.”

The report makes ten specific recommendations – at the heart of these is collaboration and co-production. It requires both cross-governmental working at a department level, as well as new partnerships between government, health and social services, arts and heritage funders, the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and the private sector.


To read or download the report, click here.

To find out more about how we evaluate our impact, click here.


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