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  • 19 Jul 2017

All-Party Parliamentary Group Inquiry Report Launch–Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

Credit: David Shrigley

Today the report of an Inquiry into arts, health and wellbeing, led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW) launched in the House of Commons. On Friday 21 July, the Manchester launch will take place.

The key messages of Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing are:

  • The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived.
  • The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health.
  • The arts can help save money in the health service and in social care.

The APPGAHW presents the findings of two years of evidence gathering, roundtables and discussions with service users, health and social care professionals, artists and arts organisations, academics, policy makers and parliamentarians from all parties and both Houses. It aims to influence Ministers and officials, the NHS, Public Health England and local authorities, healthcare staff, providers of social care, artists and arts organisations.

The Inquiry was funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The partners in the Inquiry have been the National Alliance for the Arts, Health and Wellbeing, King’s College London, the Royal Society for Public Health and Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity.

The report offers a set of key recommendations to maximise the potential for the arts to enhance health and well-being outcomes, including:

  • Leaders in the arts, health and social care sectors to establish a national strategic centre for arts, health and wellbeing
  • A cross-governmental strategy to support the delivery of health and wellbeing through the arts and culture
  • Designated individuals to be responsible for arts, health and wellbeing within NHS England, Public Health England and each clinical commissioning group, NHS trust, local authority and health and wellbeing board

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation said:
“At Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we have always believed that the arts are a force for change, enriching people’s lives and transforming communities, so we were pleased to support this important work to shine a light on the links between arts and well-being, and to uncover the excellent practice and evidence to underpin our assertions. The findings emphasise the positive impact that arts access and participation have on helping people to overcome disadvantage and enjoy healthier lives and the case studies clearly demonstrate the power that partnerships between health agencies and arts practitioners can have on influencing better outcomes for individual health and wellbeing. We hope that policy makers, health commissioners and programme creators find it helpful.”

Rt Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport, 
Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing said:
“The time has come to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing. We have been privileged to hear moving personal testimonies from individuals who have experienced remarkable improvements in their own health and wellbeing from engagement with the arts.

“This report sets out comprehensive evidence and numerous examples of practice which demonstrate the beneficial impact of the arts. However, we have also found that engagement of the arts in health and social care is unevenly spread and occurs little if at all in many places. We are calling for an informed and open-minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of the pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems.”

The report is available here.