Creative Alternatives takes a multi-modal arts-based approach to Social Prescribing, utilising a diverse team of experienced applied arts facilitators, many of whom have dual expertise in psychology, counselling, arts therapy and/or mindfulness-based interventions, and who take a person-centred approach to workshop planning and delivery.
“Social prescribing can alleviate […] pressure on GPs and other healthcare professionals, general practices and the health service more widely, all of whom are struggling to survive difficult times. Social prescribing goes further than that. By facilitating the patients’ access to a whole range of voluntary and local services, including becoming volunteers themselves, there is much potential to nurture local social capital and catalyse health-creating communities that strengthen their ability to care for themselves and each other.”
Report of the Annual Social Prescribing Network Conference, January 2016.
Creative Alternatives workshops combine relaxation and mindfulness practices with expressive multi-modal arts activity, featuring creative writing, visual arts and sculpture, photography, pottery and woodwork. One-off projects have included creative cooking and gardening, as well as drama and dance.
Our online service
Creative Alternatives works locally as well as online. In 2017 we designed an online version of our local arts-on-prescription service, offering themed creative wellbeing activities over a period of 12 weeks. We took an asset-based approach to the design of content, focusing on themes of self-care, gratitude, as well as a vision-building, identifying sources of inspiration & wellness with every participant.
We delivered this through a collaborative online learning environment, offering a safe and confidential online space accessible via sign-in.
Every week we shared new content – videos, podcasts, activity guides, exploring an uplifting theme. Participants engaged with new content and then shared their responses in asynchronous forums, where they could write and share artwork at a time convenient to them. We also held live sessions on a video-conferencing platform, enabling people to connect directly, talk, play and dream. Our evaluation showed that the online pilot programme was as effective as our local provision.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst many people are isolated at home, we’re developing our online platform, evolving our content and resources and planning a bigger rollout to serve more people. In this online programme, we’ll be encouraging people to explore weekly videos and prompts, encouraging ideas for creative activities that can easily be done from home and without expensive art materials.
Each week, we will also host live video-conferencing sessions with our artists, encouraging people to share their ideas and experiences and inspire each other. If you are a social prescribing provider interested in accessing the programme, or referral agent, or indeed if you’re interested in joining this online programme for your own enjoyment and enrichment, please complete the form below, and we’ll add you to our newsletter.