Communities in Calderdale will soon benefit from increased opportunities to enjoy arts, culture and other activities to improve health and wellbeing, through the power of social prescribing – especially in areas hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19.
Following a successful bid to the national Thriving Communities Fund, delivered by the National Academy for Social Prescribing and partners, Calderdale will receive the maximum available funding of £50,000 to support voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise projects in the borough.
The bid for funding was submitted as a joint project involving multiple organisations, including Calderdale Council, Active Calderdale, the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, voluntary sector groups and creative and cultural organisations such as Halifax-based community arts organisation, Artworks, The Everybody School of Art. Wider partnership working will also be established when the project launches.
The funding will be used to plan and deliver community activities including those involving the arts, creativity and culture, sport and activity and those focused on wellbeing. The work will support the recovery from COVID-19 by redeveloping community connections and supporting local organisations to work together more effectively for the benefit of local residents.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:
“The COVID pandemic has affected so many parts of our lives. As well as the obvious impact on health and the economy, it’s also left many feeling isolated and missing the community connections or activities they may normally have taken part in.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been successful in our bid for funding as part of the Thriving Communities fund. It will support community organisations to develop a varied programme of activities for those hardest hit by the pandemic.”
Lauren Iredale, Director at Artworks, The Everybody School of Art, said:
‘We were delighted to see the success of Calderdale’s Thriving Communities bid.
“Creativity and Culture have big roles to play in our personal and collective recovery and in improving and supporting our health and wellbeing.
“This project presents an important opportunity for Calderdale to demonstrate the impact creativity and culture can have on people’s lives. By coming together with partners from a wide range of sectors to share our knowledge and expertise we hope to nurture and enrich the social prescribing offer for people Calderdale and make it more sustainable.”
Rob Webster CBE, chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“As a Trust we recognise the important role creativity plays in supporting good mental health and wellbeing. It’s crucial that we make arts and culture as accessible as possible so that more people can enjoy the benefits they bring. Through this funding, we’ll be able to increase the range and reach of fulfilling activities to support our local communities.”
The Thriving Communities Fund will support 37 projects across England and is being delivered in a unique partnership between National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Historic England, National Academy for Social Prescribing, Natural England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Sport England, the Money & Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.
It is part of the Thriving Community programme(external link), which aims to strengthen the range of social prescribing activities offered locally, enhance collaboration and networking between local organisations and enable social prescribing link workers to connect people to more creative community activities and services. The programme is enabling providers working in arts, culture and heritage, nature, physical activity and offering life advice and support to develop initiatives, learn and network, and build the evidence base for social prescribing.