The therapeutic qualities of the arts have been long known, and for 17 years artists, NHS staff and cultural workers have worked together to promote health and wellbeing through Haul – Arts in Health.
Over £10,000 of National Lottery funding has allowed Haul to create artworks, performances and events to raise the spirits of patients, staff and visitors at healthcare settings across Ceredigion, west Wales.
The Memory Lane Cafe helps dementia sufferers explore their reminiscences, while children with long term illnesses have enjoyed crafts workshops, and people with mental health difficulties have enjoyed creative writing. People affected by domestic violence have benefited from music workshops.
People young and old have experienced the power of this work, from young carers, children at risk of exclusion, patients and their families affected by life threatening illnesses, as well as concerts in homes for the elderly and community hospitals.
One volunteer, Alex, was finishing treatment for drugs and alcohol addiction when he helped with a mural project on hoardings around a hospital building project. Alex said: “This was the first time that I had done any form of work, and I really enjoyed it. Being part of Haul has really helped me get my life back on track and rebuild relationships with my family.”
Jill Piercy, Arts Facilitator, said: “Although we are a small organisation we are able to make a difference by helping people focus on what they can do creatively rather than feeling isolated and limited by their illness.”