An initiative developed by the Southbank Centre during the Covid-19 pandemic to reach those most isolated by the lockdowns is to be relaunched.
The Art by Post scheme scheme involves delivering free activity booklets to care homes, hospitals, charities, arts organisations, specialist dementia services, prison facilities and housing initiatives to give people an outlet for artistic expression.
The initiative previously reached almost 4,500 people, 90% of whom said it had given them something to look forward to and 75% of whom said that it had improved their wellbeing.
The scheme will return in partnership with the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP), with six new creativity booklets designed for people with long-term physical and mental health needs.
Participants can refer themselves or be referred by a friend, family member or professional service. Organisations can also sign up to receive the booklets in bulk.
The new booklets provide free poetry and art activities designed by artists and activists to nurture creativity and support wellbeing, with a focus on how to care for the health of the planet.
“At NASP we’ve witnessed the life changing effect social prescribing – connecting people to non-medical support to address problems like isolation or stress – can have on people’s mental and physical health,” said Sunita Pandya, Interim CEO at The National Academy for Social Prescribing.
“However, we are also keenly aware that some green social prescribing or arts for wellbeing projects aren’t accessible to those who cannot leave the house.
“These booklets – which are being offered to link workers for distribution – make social prescribing activities available to all. We can't wait to see the work they inspire.”