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Culture and community health

The impact of arts programmes on community health and well-being

Dance artist Charlie delivered a session to  Lai Lim from Doncaster Central Learning Centre on adapting Tai Chi as a chair-based activity. This was delivered as part of darts' work to build links with Doncaster-based organisations.

For decades community navigators and wellbeing advisers in local government have used social prescribing to help tackle loneliness, improve mental health and more.  

As conveners of place and local leaders who know their communities and the voluntary and community sector, councils have always sat at the heart of social prescribing. Community arts organisations, such as darts, work with some of the most vulnerable residents and have a firm commitment to the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.  

The pandemic has only served to highlight how crucial culture, leisure, parks, and creativity is to people’s lives. Many culture and leisure organisations responded with remarkable speed to the pandemic, adapting their services to deliver digital activity, wellbeing boxes and providing direct support to the most vulnerable. Harnessing innovation and the wealth of culture and leisure related social prescribing initiatives already being run is crucial to meeting the challenges facing communities and councils. 

This handbook shares inspiring case studies from across the country of councils using a range of innovative in person and digital models to deliver social prescribing initiatives to improve the health, wellbeing and care of individuals. The handbook explores the opportunities for councils and their partners to work together to expand the reach of their social prescribing offer, level up growing health inequalities, support communities affected by the rising cost of living and tackle the burden on social care and NHS services. 

The Local Government Association used the innovative work of darts as a case study evidencing the vital contribution that community arts make to social prescribing, and the resulting benefits for its visitors and participants. To find out more about how darts programmes have contributed to social prescribing, read the Arts on Prescription Case Study here.  

Click here to read the full report on harnessing culture for social prescribing in the community. 

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