Last autumn, some of our Belgrade Theatre Over 50s Hub participants and I, started on a journey. It began with the question: 'What is Social Prescribing?' and continues on today.
We decided to invite some social prescribers into the building and ask them this question. We also wanted to give them the opportunity to hear about the work the Belgrade Theatre undertakes at the intersection of art and health/wellbeing and to take part in a co-created, co-led workshop by the participants and me, Kim Hackleman, the freelance facilitator who leads their weekly sessions. So, we created the event Welcoming Social Prescribers which took place on 14 Dec 2022.
Belgrade Theatre staff, Laura Elliot (CEO), and Corey Campbell (Creative Director) welcomed our guests. We introduced our work, and then together we explored questions such as ‘What is social prescribing?’, ‘What are the barriers to social prescribing into arts provision?’, and asked what steps we might like to take next to work more closely together. The participants and I shared our practice with them and then we all talked and listened to one another until we came up with a few actions we would like to take forward.
One of these was to celebrate National Social Prescribing Day on 9 Mar 2023 by providing a day where we welcomed the public into the building to meet with some of the social prescribers. With thanks to funding from Coventry Building Society, we commissioned the following organisations to run free workshops at the event:
The Starfish Collaborative, a Coventry-based Community Interest Company enabling people to access, explore and experience creativity, culture, and nature for positive mental & physical health and social & environmental change in Coventry, led a ‘Nature Weaving’ workshop.
Arty-Folks, an art & mental health charity empowering adults on their recovery journey also offered a weaving workshop.
Foleshill Creates offered a ‘Collage’ workshop. The organisation was started as a way to bring people together through art and creativity and continues to do so today.
Beautiful postcards were created in the Inini workshop. Inini is a Karanga word to mean ‘the self’. The organisation is positioned in the Karanga culture framework which believes ‘the self’ is not separate from the world but united and intermingled with the social environment.
Among other services, Inini provides a safe space for ethnic minority communities to meet and connect while engaging in conversation on issues they find challenging in a weekly support group.
Underground Lights is a former Belgrade Springboard Company, running workshops in association with the Belgrade Theatre. They are run for and by adults experiencing social disadvantage, homelessness and/or mental health issues in Coventry, Warwickshire, and the surrounding area. Underground Lights led an ‘Introduction to Drama’ workshop.
Also offered to the public that day was a supported place to speak about death, dying, and grieving by Charlotte Temple the Lead for Community Connections at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
Finally, social prescribers and arts organisation, some having experienced being social prescribed into and others interested in learning more about the process, gathered together for a discussion of the barriers they find to working more closely together and suggestions of how these might be overcome.
A short video of the events and next steps will be shared soon.
We hope everyone has an enjoyable Creativity & Wellbeing Week!