Paintings in Hospitals recognises that ‘connection’ and ‘collection’ are equally important. That is to say that ensuring that people can make meaningful connections with our art, and reap the benefits that connection brings, is as important as our ability to care for and utilise our unique art collection.

Our exciting new plans for the charity over the next three years will focus on a rebalance of our capacity and the support we are able to provide to arts engagement activities. Our collection will be used increasingly to inspire and inform connection; our exhibitions and displays will drive engagement activities; and we will open new partnerships in community settings to facilitate this.

Here is a breakdown of our new objectives for 2021 and beyond:

1. We will support the design and implementation of high-quality arts interventions by:

  • Working closely with the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups;
  • Working with artists who are keen to engage with local communities;
  • Recruiting a commissioner to work with CCGs and health and social care providers;
  • Acting as a quasi-link worker and, through our artists membership scheme, enabling artists to work on the delivery of community health and wellbeing.

Evidence shows that taking part in arts activities improves people’s wellbeing. Arts activities can save money for health and social care, ranging from savings of £2.58 for every £1 invested to a social return on investment of £4 for every £1 invested. 

2. We will develop public awareness of the benefits to health of engaging with the arts by:

  • Incorporating research and evaluation into all our projects and sharing this knowledge through publishing;
  • Utilising the charity’s trustees and staff members as thought leaders;

3. We will identify and remove barriers to accessing the arts, including among older adults, people with poor mental health, people of lower socioeconomic status, members of ethnic or other minorities, people with a health condition or disability, and people living in geographically isolated areas. We will do this by:

  • Implementing and resourcing our digital strategy;
  • Developing a scheme to provide art for the socially isolated at home;
  • Bringing art to people online and at home through a bespoke app and interactive web content, which can be provided to hospitals and other care sites;
  • Identifying artists, through our artist agency, who wish to donate works for health and wellbeing and working with CCGs and local authorities to identify recipients for this work;
  • Digitising our collection in its entirety, increasing access and understanding.

4. We will facilitate the development of partnerships between the health and social care and the arts sectors by:

  • Connecting and collaborating with the CCG and local authorities;
  • Connecting our artists agency to the above;
  • Continuing to be a Strategic Partner of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance;
  • Reviewing how we manage and deliver our Showcase displays with our partners;
  • Engaging with the University sector;
  • Developing partnerships with other national organisations;
  • Enlivening our showcases to attract sponsorship and enable touring exhibitions.

5. We will develop training, resources and guidelines that support collaboration between the arts and health sectors by:

  • Continuing to publish resources such as the Creative Care Homes practical guide;
  • Offering high quality engagement activities;
  • Sharing our specialist expertise through training;
  • Publishing a collections management practical guide for our partners;
  • Working in partnership with other practitioners to deliver services and build on the impact from our collection through other arts (e.g. music, poetry, etc.);
  • Building on our work with care homes to train their lifestyle and activity co-ordinators in delivery of art activities, building knowledge and confidence.

6. We will ensure we incorporate evidence on the health benefits of the arts into relevant policy documents by:

  • Engaging with the NHS, CCGs, and local authorities, academics, media, and digital agencies and medical and arts journals;
  • Building relationships with the NHS, social care sector, DCMS, and Arts Council;
  • Demonstrating our specialist skills through our publications and Paintings in Hospitals articles in the press;
  • Participating in blogs, podcasts and other live appearances at conferences, etc.