Outreach programme to encourage creativity

Taking part in art activities and coming together to be creative as a group can have a positive lasting impact on health and wellbeing. Our outreach programme of art workshops continues to go from strength to strength, growing steadily since 2011, to become a wide scaled initiative delivered across a broad cross section of health and care environments in Scotland.

Our workshops aim to encourage creativity and absolutely no prior experience of art is required; the focus is on becoming involved in the process rather than on a final product. Each workshop is unique, inspiring spontaneity, discovery and revelation.

We work with a fantastic team of professional artists who are highly experienced at designing and delivering art workshops in community and care environments. They understand some of the fears and doubts people may have when they first take part and are skilled in facilitation and encouraging creativity.

Doing things I've never done before. Working with other people. Very pleased with what I did-didn't think I'd be able to do it. Sheltered housing complex resident

People accessing our art workshops often have higher level needs and are identified by partners we work with including NHS and the community health sector. Through working in this way, participants have experienced a range of benefits in taking part. For example:

Improve mental health
  • Provide an opportunity for patients to express their emotions creatively
  • People feel valued and empowered
  • Enhance self-esteem and confidence
  • Provide positive distraction from anxieties
  • Provide routine and structure through daily or weekly participation
Contribute to personal development
  • Stimulate/encourage people to develop new artistic skills
  • Help build social capital
  • Positively affect self-perception of wellbeing
  • Allow people to connect in new ways with fellow patients and carers
  • Enhance general quality of life
Enhance community spirit
  • Improve social cohesion and create a sense of belonging
  • Facilitate communication with other participants and help to build or strengthen a social network
  • Reduce feelings of isolation and prevent loneliness
Staff said it was one of the most therapeutic and enjoyable classes that the men had had Volunteer for Alzheimer Scotland art workshop




The cumulative nature of the art being produced was reflected in a cumulative excitement. Lindsay Gibson, Day Club Organiser, The Prentice Day Care Centre

How does the outreach programme work?

The people we work with are at the heart of our approach. We work closely with everyone involved to tailor workshops specifically to the needs of the participants with and to suit the setting in which they run. Although workshops are bespoke they may include the following:

  • The aims and purpose of each workshop discussed in advance, delivered in an agreed healthcare venue to a specific group of participants
  • Each artist will consider themes, subject matter and materials
  • The artist may select artworks from our prestigious collection to serve as inspiration for participants
  • Volunteers will take part to support the artist and give extra help to the participants
  • All materials are provided
  • Option of a ‘showcase’ at the end of workshop series to celebrate the artworks created i.e an exhibition or book
Very popular workshops which had a nice informal vibe, flexible to the needs of the service-users which encouraged even the most reluctant art. Great for building confidence and 'trying something new'. Allowed for lots of social interactions. Manager Link Up Womens Support Centre

Examples of the outreach programme in practice

  • Western General Hospital to provide elderly patients with a creative outlet to stimulate social interaction
  • VOCAL to enable full time carers respite and a release from the stress of their daily lives
  • Alzheimer Scotland to engage and stimulate people with early onset dementia

We are always looking to develop new partnerships and new ways working so if you are interested in our Outreach Programme please get in touch.

I saw a huge transformation in the communication and development of ideas in every single participant throughout the 6 weeks. I think any opportunity for people who often don't have the chance to focus on their own identity; to come together in a creative environment is such a positive and powerful process. Ali Glanville Jones, Artist
By the end we had all been on a journey and produced surprising work. There was a happy buzz about the place. There were real moments of connection with several members of the group and these insights are a valuable part of the workshops you offer. They show that even when expectations of people are not high, you can make breakthroughs using art. Heather Lucchesi Artist

Interested in working with us?

If you are interested in working with us, please contact Iona McCann, our Outreach Manager on 0131 555 7638 or you can email us outreachmanager@artinhealthcare.org.uk. Alternatively you can use our contact form by clicking on the button below.