Our Commissioner & Fundraiser Kath Threlkeld tells us how her career as an Occupational Therapist led her to working with us.

How long have you been with Paintings in Hospitals? What is your role in your own words?

I’ve been here for about three months now! I have a dual role: Fundraiser, which is writing grants to match projects to certain funders and fundraise for us generally; and then Commissioner, which is working with a variety of agencies, such as CCGs, NHS trusts, and private care networks to forward our agenda.

What’s your background?

I started out in events and marketing because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school. Then I retrained as an Occupational Therapist, which is very closely linked to arts for health. I did that for a few years and practiced in the NHS. Then I merged my two skillsets, using my previous corporate, business skills with my Occupational Therapy experience. Now I take charity development work for health and arts-based charities.

How would you describe what the charity does?

We do what the Founder, Sheridan Russell, wanted, which is using art to maximise health and wellbeing.

Paintings in Hospitals has a larger remit than its name would suggest. We’re trying to focus on more community activities going forward and using the collection in a meaningful way.

We have lots of different projects, such as the Healthcare Heroes project and the Creative Care Homes guide.

Why do you work for Paintings in Hospitals?

I wanted to apply because for me it was a perfect fit for me and my skills. As an Occupational Therapist, I’ve got an ethos of meaningful occupation and art being therapeutic. I’ve been working in charity development for the last six years so I thought it was a perfect fit for both my experience and my ethos.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing that Paintings in Hospitals does?

For me, it’s very much linked to Occupational Therapy and meaningful occupation.

Art is meaningful to a lot of people, whether it be engaging with it, just viewing it, or partaking in it. There are so many therapeutic benefits to art, so for me it’s inherently, intrinsically linked to what an Occupational Therapist does.

What do you like most about working at Paintings in Hospitals?

I love the work. I’ve got a lot of experience in grant writing, so I think I’ll be able to do a good job for us there. It’s quite challenging doing the social prescribing. It’s really interesting, but quite hard to work out. Hopefully I’m getting somewhere. I think everyone has probably said it but the team is really, really lovely. They’re all really nice people, which makes for a really nice environment to work in – even if it is from home!

What is it you think the charity can ultimately achieve as we work together?

Paintings in Hospitals was one of the first arts for health organisations. It’s been going such a long time, so I think we should be the go-to name. We do work on a nationwide basis, so there might be a lot of scope to go a bit more into different areas and use the collection more to engage with communities on the ground, possibly at a more local level.

What is your favourite piece in the collection?

It has to be anything by Quentin Blake as it takes me back to my childhood, reading Roald Dahl books – my absolute favourite being ‘Danny, Champion of the World’.  I love the world created by Dahl with Danny and his Dad, their cosy caravan and midnight feasts!

Quentin Blake, Draw the World. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals Collection.