Arts on Prescription

Swansea has just started an Arts on Prescription service. Read on to find out what that is and how the arts can support your well-being.

HARBWR is the name of Swansea’s Arts on Prescription Service. It runs creative and engaging arts activities to support people dealing with mild mental health problems, isolation and loneliness. It also offers to organise groups for carers and a ‘Dance to Health’ activity for falls prevention.

But what is arts on prescription? I hear you say. It is a part of a social prescribing service that guides patients to community services that support their well-being, through an arts activity. I know, I’ve dropped another term on you. Here’s an NHS definition of social prescribing:

“Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be run by the council or a local charity. For example, signposting people who have been diagnosed with dementia to local dementia support groups.” NHS England


Part of HARBWR’s service is a provision called Rengarific, and I am one of the artists running the provision. Here’s a little video from me explaining what it’s all about.

I delivered a version of this with 2 groups last summer, during lockdown. It was fascinating to see what people created from someone else’s art. And the final exhibitions were a joy to behold.

I am delighted to be involved with this developing service, it mirrors some of my own work and really can make a difference. The arts can definitely support people to work through challenging thoughts, feelings and experiences. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s a statement about just that from the Welsh NHS Confederation.

“Participatory arts and crafts activities in community and healthcare settings provide opportunities for people to engage with each other and their own creativity, directly improving their sense of well-being. The arts can reduce stress and increase social engagement as well as provide opportunities for self-expression.” Arts, Health & Well-Being May 2018

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