Fresh Arts is the arts programme managed by North Bristol NHS Trust. It exists to enhance the patient experience and improve health and wellbeing by maintaining and extending an arts programme across Southmead and Cossham Hospitals for the benefit of patients, visitors and staff. The Fresh Arts programme includes a programme of visual arts exhibitions, music on wards, art at the patient bedside, and an Arts on Referral programme offered to those accessing outpatient clinics. The Fresh Arts programme is funded by Southmead Hospital Charity.

North Bristol NHS Trust, through Fresh Arts on Referral, is thought to be the first to pilot the Social Prescribing model in an acute hospital setting through clinical referrals to a time-limited, condition-specific arts programme with onward signposting and referrals to local, community- based, non-clinical services to enable sustained holistic support for health and wellbeing.

The Arts on Referral programme offers a safe, creative and enjoyable space in which to:

  • Take some time to support your own wellbeing
  • Find out how being creative can lead to relaxation and enjoyment
  • Meet and share with others in a similar situation to your own

Creative arts sessions are currently offered through:

· Pain clinic – for patients living with chronic pain

· Respiratory clinic – for patients living with chronic breathlessness

Creative writing sessions are offered through:

· MacMillan Centre – for patients who have experienced cancer

Sessions are free to attend and all materials are supplied. No previous experience is necessary.

The referral process/Getting Referred

In order to attend Arts on Referral you must be referred by a clinician or health practitioner. Please contact your clinician or email for a referral form. Referral forms are received by the Fresh Arts Manager who will contact you directly to assess your suitability and establish any support needs you may have and advise you on the next available course.

Where are sessions held?

Sessions are held at North Bristol NHS Trust, Southmead Hospital, Bristol BS10 5NB and full instructions and a map are sent on joining. In 2019/20 we are offering the following sessions:

Chronic Breathlessness – Monday mornings

Chronic Pain – Wednesday afternoons

Creative writing for cancer patients – Thursday mornings

Once you have completed Arts on Referral, we help you to find a course in the community to move onto next; these are usually provided by our partners in BARA.

What can I expect?

Arts on Referral offers a relaxed supportive atmosphere where people with the same long term condition take part in creative activities in a supportive and accepted environment. A Health Support Worker from each clinic attends the session alongside the group to help with any practical issues or questions, which may be related to their condition. Our sessions provide a safe space in your week to enjoy ‘me time’ with no pressures. An experienced artist gently introduces a range of ideas and techniques to help participants explore their own creativity and learn new skills at their own pace.