A new initiative is tackling health and social inequalities across Cornwall, using the transformative role that arts, culture and creativity can play in wellbeing.   

Arts Well, through the Duchy’s community hubs, with funding from Public Health, is providing training to support creative practitioners in delivering group sessions at their hubs to improve people’s mental health and resilience within communities.   

Community Hubs are central points located throughout the whole county – from St Just to Mullion, Bude to Millbrook – providing support and contact for communities, safe and warm places for people to socialise and take part in activities, where people can come together.   

Arts Well’s first practitioners’ training session, which takes place on November 30 at The Elms in Redruth, will highlight the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ based on ‘Connect, Be Active, Notice, Keep Learning, Give’; the training will provide hands-on activities and equip practitioners with methods, tools and materials to take back to their own communities.   

Olivia Beckwith, development director for Arts Well UK CIC said: “The outcome of our work through the community hubs will be improved health and wellbeing, reduced loneliness and isolation, an increased uptake of other community activities and reduction in use of primary care or other health care services.  

“There is strong evidence of the value of engaging in creative activity, especially on mental health and wellbeing, loneliness and isolation and in addressing inequalities.  Doing something creative is a useful resource for daily living and can help to keep us well.”   

Through community hubs and support for practitioners, Arts Well will create regular activity groups within areas of greatest need, supporting the Levelling Up agenda and the strategic health and wellbeing aims of Cornwall Council.   

With Cornwall’s suicide rate higher than both the England and South West average, and self-harm rates being high in the South West, Arts Well’s approach is helping address demand for overstretched statutory services and support people who are not reaching mental health provision.   

Jayne Howard, director of Arts Well added: “Our work with community hubs is building on our achievements to date, providing a range of support to services locally.  

“We advocate for the role of arts, culture and creativity in improving health and wellbeing, providing training, advice, networking and professional development opportunities for people working in arts and health, as well as delivering our own projects.”