Tonic is the arts and environments programme founded in 1992 for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, writes Josie Aston.
We are a registered charity and our mission is ?to use the arts to improve hospital environments and inspire better health and well-being in patients, staff and visitors?. Our main activities include:
? improving the hospital environment using visual arts features and a co-ordinated approach to interior design
? conserving the Trust?s historical archives and artefacts and working to improve interpretation of these for the general public
? programming a wide range of arts events and workshops for the benefit of child and adult patients
? running an Arts Club which provides a programme of cultural activities for Trust staff and raises funds to support our projects.
We have three full-time members of staff, but as the Leeds Teaching Hospitals is the largest NHS Trust in Britain, with eight hospital sites and 16,000 staff treating over a million patients every year, we have our work cut out!
A research study by Nottingham University in association with Tonic is to be published shortly. It has shown that the improved patient environments in the new Jubilee Wing of Leeds General Infirmary have directly enhanced recovery times and patients? perception of their experiences in hospital. For example, the visual arts have been used to support specific patient groups. The heart day-case ward has ceiling light-boxes with specially commissioned photographs by Kate Mellor as a welcome distraction for patients who are undergoing treatment. Some of our visual arts projects at Leeds General Infirmary can be viewed at http://www.publicartonline.co.uk in the case studies index.
We are currently planning a second research study to evaluate the health benefits of performing and participative art forms for patients. A recent performing arts initiative took place in February. We arranged for Green Candle Dance Company to visit child cancer and surgery patients at St James?s Hospital. They gave a performance and workshop called ?ForWard Motion? - a colourful dance performance specially designed to bring rhythm, colour and stimulation to children on wards. We are now looking at ways in which dance can be incorporated into the hospital environment as an extra dimension to patients? treatment and experience of hospital.
Our projects are not funded by NHS budgets and so we have to raise funds from a variety of sources to support our work, including the National Lottery, Yorkshire Arts, corporate sponsors and grant-making trusts. We are also developing sources of revenue funding - the Staff Arts Club, and the Friends of Tonic scheme, which was launched in April 2001.
Josie Aston is Arts Fundraising Officer at Tonic. t: 0113 392 3941, f: 0113 392 6161, e: email@example.com