Person-centred arts and culture to improve wellbeing

  • Run by South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group and Torbay Culture, in collaboration with health, care and culture partners  
  • Aimed to improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing outcomes, focusing on people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and children with lower-level mental health problems
  • Introduced a series of participatory arts programmes
  • The project ran from January 2017 to April 2018

The overall aim of this project was to develop an integrated system and model of care, built around motivated, activated and engaged citizens, where health and wellbeing is a priority.

The innovation focused on improving the physical, mental and social wellbeing of two groups of people – those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and children with lower-level mental health problems – through community-based arts and culture programmes.

Eleven 12-week interventions were run, involving art, storytelling, theatre, music and radio production for the children, and singing for COPD patients. Sessions focused on learning a creative skill or technique, with emphasis on experimentation, group interaction and reflection to enable participants to gain skills, knowledge, confidence and resilience; as well as a sense of community connection.

Evaluation has shown that the arts-based interventions have the potential to offer a greater choice of self-management interventions to patients living with long-term conditions; empower people to take better care of themselves, and offer attractive and enjoyable strategies for self-management.

Results of the project in schools show a slight reduction in overall stress post-intervention, with some children showing marked improvement and reduced risk of mental health disorder.

There was high participant satisfaction among the singing for COPD cohort, marked improvements in mental wellbeing for some, and self-reports that participants were applying breathing techniques and exercises at home.

Learning from the interventions is informing discussions regarding sustainability and embedding the innovation into care pathways. The team will now concentrate on providing robust financial data and recommendations for future delivery in order to engage commissioners.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Paul Hurrell, Head of Innovation and Quality Improvement, South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group.

About this programme


Innovating for Improvement

This programme supports up to 23 projects with up to £75,000 to test and develop innovative ideas and approaches, put them in...

You might also like...

Improvement project

Relational continuity for general practice patients with new and changing symptoms

This project use data analysis to identify healthy patients with new or changing symptoms who may benefit from continuity, an...

Newsletter feature

The clinician perspective on person-centred care

We spoke to Isabel Hodkinson – a GP in Tower Hamlets, in east London – about the benefits of person-centred care for clinicia...

Journal article

'The more you know, the more you realise it is really challenging to do': Tensions and uncertainties in person-centred support for people with long-term conditions

Objective To identify and examine tensions and uncertainties in person-centred approaches to self-management support – approa...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q Community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more