Bristol Arts on Referral Alliance, a gateway to wellbeing art services

Who We Are

BARA is a partnership between Bristol City Council (Public Health), Knowle West Healthy Living Centre and Wellspring Healthy Living Centre who share a vision of the role of arts as an intervention to promote and sustain positive mental health and wellbeing.

The current programme of BARA activities are funded by Bristol City Council, Bristol CCG and charitable foundations.

What We Do

We deliver art as a therapeutic activity in areas of greatest need and to those who experience low to moderate mental health issues, or those who are in recovery from mental illness and are well-enough to attend a group.

Each art on referral activity is embedded within a larger social prescribing programme thereby facilitating easy access to a range of positive, community-based activities and support.

Find a Group

BARA delivers 13 arts on referral groups, and hosts 6 follow-on or independent groups in those geographical areas with the greatest need.

Some of our groups are self-referral and others are via healthcare or social care professionals.

See map below or go to ‘Find a Group’

Find your nearest therapeutic art group in Bristol

How to find a group
BARA delivers in areas of greatest need. 
imagine an atmosphere where everyone feels supported…yes, mutual support seems to just happen...almost as if by magicArt Group Participant

If you are based in:
South Bristol download the referral form for ArtEase at Knowle West Healthy Living Centre

Inner-City and East Bristol, download the referral form for Wellbeing Arts.

Inner-City Bristol – for mothers with child/ren under 5, they can attend Dreamtime Arts at Children’s Centres: for the closest group, please see this leaflet

North Bristol (excl. Henleaze, Clifton, Cotham, Westbury and Redland), download the referral form for Wellbeing Arts

Any area of Bristol and want to make a referral to arts on referral in primary mental health care, the number for your client to self-refer through Bristol Wellbeing Therapies is 0117 982 3209 and ask for Artshine. For more information please download this leaflet.

A city-wide, sustainable and resilient journey to wellbeing

  • We provide clients and health practitioners with routes to Arts on Referral
  • We help address health inequalities by providing Arts on Referral in areas of deprivation and reaching out to communities who don’t ordinarily access the arts
  • We use a client-centred, asset-based approach, helping develop individuals’ resilience through high-quality follow-on and independent creative opportunities
  • We add value by signposting and referring to other positive activities as part of a wider social prescribing programme
  • We create a space for supportive networks and friendships to flourish

Find out more

Some more focus on the art groups
"Generally I feel much more part of a community, more positive."
Sophie Shine-On participant
"I’m so pleased these classes are available, for a few hours each week I’m able to have a period of time where I can achieve some peace."
Mike Artshine Participant
"I remember the feeling walking out of my first dreamtime session. My shoulders felt like they had dropped by inches. I can't thank all the people involved in the Dreamtime project enough. It can literally be a lifeline to some of us"
Shelley Dreamtime Arts Participant