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Arts & Health South West


Arts & Health South West is a new organisation for everyone interested in the Arts and Health sector in the South West of England. The purpose of the organisation is to raise the profile and influence the development of the Arts and Health sector across the region. Its role is to provide information, support and advocacy for people who believe in the value of creativity in enhancing people's health and wellbeing.

Arts & Health South West aims to:

  • Raise the profile of the Arts and Health sector across the region
  • Influence the development of Arts and Health across the region
  • Provide information and support for those working in the Arts and Health sector in the region
  • Encourage partnerships between health and arts professionals in the region
  • Support the professional development of people working in the sector

Arts and Health South West's website, launched in mid April 2006, offers a wealth of up-to-date information about Arts and Health, the latest news about events and training, dozens of relevant web links, a useful resource bank, and full information about Arts & Health South West, what it offers members and how to join.


Arts & Health South West was developed following a feasibility study commissioned by Arts Council England, South West and completed in November 2003 by Bristol-based arts and health consultants Willis Newson. It identified a clear need and demand for a Forum which would bring people together across the Arts and Health sector to share news, information, learning, good ideas and good practice.  

As a result, a Steering Group was formed, under the name the South West Arts and Health Forum , which represented various parts of the Arts and Health sector: Arts Co-ordinators working for Acute Trusts, community based Arts and Health organisations, people working in the medical humanities, Local Authorities, the arts therapies, and arts organisations. Willis Newson produced a strategic plan for the Forum in March 2005 and in April the same year, the organisation was registered as a company.

The next stage was to commission a consultant, Ruth Hecht, to undertake an audit and analysis of Arts and Health activity across the region. By September 2005 her research was complete and the audit report - Shared Territories - was published. It provides a detailed breakdown of who is working in Arts and Health in the South West; what work is taking place, where and why; how the work is funded; people's aspirations and needs; and the key issues which face the sector.

The audit report, Shared Territories, Arts & Health South West's Business Plan and the organisation's Memorandum and Articles of Assocation are all available for free download from www.artsandhealthsouthwest.org.uk

Interim Co-ordinator

Ruth Hecht was then appointed as interim Co-ordinator to put in place all the necessary structures and funding to establish the organisation. The forum was formally renamed as Arts & Health South West, and in January 2006, a Grants for the Arts Award was secured from Arts Council England, South West towards the running costs of the organisation for three years, and a smaller grant was received from Awards for All to design and build the website. A co-ordinator will be appointed by mid 2006.


The budget for the organisation for the next three years is £145,000 of which

  • 55% is from the Arts Council
  • 25% is from membership fees
  • 20% is from other sources such as Charitable Trusts

A number of local authorities, hospital arts projects and other interested organisations became founder members by making a financial contribution to the then South West Arts and Health Forum in 2005.


A major push is currently underway to encourage anyone interested in the arts and health to join this new networking, information and advocacy organisation.


Co-ordinator: Emma Williams, Arts & Health South West, PO Box 2696, Bristol, BS2 2AL. Tel: 0117 907 3861; Email: [email protected] www.artsandhealthsouthwest.org.uk

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