West Yorkshire announces plan to boost health with creativity


A new approach to improving health through creativity has been announced as part of a collaboration between Mayor Tracy Brabin and the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Board (WY HCP).

The region will become a ‘Creative Health System’, which will drive forward a new focus on improving people’s lives through creative initiatives designed to make people feel happier and become healthier.

Creative Minds Health Event

In response to the recently released national Creative Health Review, where the Mayor, Tracy Brabin and Rob Webster, CEO Lead for WY HCP were included as commissioners, West Yorkshire plans to build on the achievements of the Creative New Deal. Additionally, it will hold the regional arm of the National Centre of Creative Health.

This will mean tailored creative courses to enhance wellbeing are part of the offer, with people of all ages benefiting – from improving the experience for young people staying in hospitals, to using dance as a way of combating isolation felt by older people.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“We’re working together to help people in West Yorkshire live happier and healthier lives.”

“And we’re harnessing the success of our thriving creative industries to make it happen.”

“Putting creative talent at the heart of healthcare will help us to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire”.

Child drawing

Since her election as Mayor – in which Ms Brabin pledged to deliver a “Creative New Deal” – the number of creative jobs in the region has risen by 17%, with almost 50,000 advertised in West Yorkshire last year.

Rob Webster CBE, CEO for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and CEO Lead for WY HCP, said:

“West Yorkshire is a leader in creative health, with years of culture that boosts people’s physical recovery, tackles loneliness and supports those who may be struggling with their mental health. It is also a crucible of creativity as seen in Leeds 2023 and the Kirklees 2023 Year of Music, all the way through to Bradford as City of Culture in 2025. Bringing these worlds together we can do much more to keep people healthy and well for longer more fulfilling lives.”

Stanley Nostel Ward Dining area

Creative health is an element of joined up care and is part of the strategy of the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. The term “creative health” describes the use of non-medical activities, from painting and playing music to cooking and gardening, which can be prescribed by health and care services to support people’s physical and mental health conditions.

Other initiatives include musicians writing lullabies with new families to reduce postnatal depression, a new “creative couch to 5k” app to help people practice new hobbies such as drawing, and community allotment gardening to support people with long term health conditions.

Mark Brooks, chief executive at South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, added:

“At SWYPFT we have long understood the benefits of creativity on care, recovery and staying well and we wholeheartedly welcome this announcement. Our award-winning linked charity, Creative Minds celebrated 10 years of work this year showing how creativity can help people find hope, purpose and meaning to aid their recovery.

“We are delighted to have been working with partners across the system in Calderdale for the last few years to host a programme looking at an integrated model of creativity and health. We have seen innovations in creative care workforces and visual transformations of our spaces, alongside pioneering work with public health, primary care and with colleagues in our acute hospitals.

“There is a surge of momentum in creative health and our work with the National Centre for Creative Health, University of Huddersfield, Ministry of Others and artists, stakeholders, and people with lived experience across West Yorkshire has started to develop an exciting consortium across the region. We are thrilled that this announcement will give extra weight and prominence to this important work that helps our people lead happier and healthier lives.”

For more information about our creative health services, visit the Creative Minds website.

West Yorkshire announces plan to boost health with creativity

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