Spalding art project pays big dividends for health

TAKING P-ART: Artist Phiona Richards (front) at Spalding Library in November 2015 with Transported's arts and marketing coordinator Grace Osborne, Carole Mills, Frances Sabey and Joan Rushton.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG181115-112TW.
TAKING P-ART: Artist Phiona Richards (front) at Spalding Library in November 2015 with Transported's arts and marketing coordinator Grace Osborne, Carole Mills, Frances Sabey and Joan Rushton. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG181115-112TW.
  • Positive impact of creative mental health project revealed
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An arts and mental health project for people in South Holland with depression and anxiety has achieved a threefold increase on its investment, according to a report.

Taking pART, a series of free creative workshops held at Spalding Library as part of the Transported Arts programme also brought a “significant rise in happiness levels” for those who took part.

A report on the programme by Transported, produced in association with Cumbria-based arts research firm MB Associates and artsNK of Sleaford, also found that the project had changed people’s “perception of the arts”.

Marion Sander of arts NK, who developed the arts and mental health project, said: “Taking pART was an Arts and Health project that had a great impact on all who were involved in it.

“This went from the management team, library staff and evaluation team, to the artists who delivered the workshops and, of course, the participants themselves.

“Beyond raising awareness of how art can have a positive effect on mental health issues, Taking pART has helped artsNK and Transported to forge ongoing relationships with participants, artists and libraries.

Beyond raising awareness of how art can have a positive effect on mental health issues, Taking pART has helped artsNK and Transported to forge ongoing relationships with participants, artists and libraries

Marion Sander, of arts NK, Sleaford

“It has also helped develop new partnerships with the health and wellbeing sector.”

The report itself revealed that the programme, which ran in Spalding and Boston between January and July 2016, cost £24,000, with a return of £79,000.

Almost half of the money came from the Mental Health Promotion Fund, part of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT), with the rest provided by Arts Council England.

The report said: “National research shows that for the general population, the happiness that the arts can engender is equivalent to good feelings from a £1,000 pay rise.

“Positive social encounters are even more highly valued and this is where much of the value of the programme lies.”