The HERA arts project at WellBN is a network of programmes using the arts and creative practices that enhance the quality of life, health and wellbeing of our patients, staff and community.
We provide access to high-quality arts activity to people. These activities are specifically designed to improve the functional health and wellbeing of participants whether they are suffering from physical or mental illness or a combination of both.
We are happy to take referrals to the programme for anyone who lives with one or more long-term health conditions (physical/mental) - and you can refer yourself directly. This programme receives funding from Brighton & Hove City Council to ensure anyone in the city who might benefit can access it. The contact details are at the bottom of this page.
The Robin Hood Health Foundation is delighted to announce that it has received a three-year offer of funding from Arts Council England to work in new communities across the south and east of England.
Health care systems in at least six areas of high health inequalities and low engagement in arts & culture will benefit from new help from the HERA Connect programme to develop professionally-led creative activities for people living with long-term health and wellbeing conditions.
The evidence shows that getting involved in creative arts – whether painting, music, writing, photography, dance or other art forms – gives many health benefits, from better breathing and mobility, to boosted immunity and faster healing, and improved mood and confidence. It is also known that people taking part need fewer GP appointments and are less likely to need to go to hospital.
HERA Connect will run to March 2026, and we are already holding talks with NHS Primary Care partners about this exciting new offer for patients and hard-pressed health care staff.
The Hera Project has been running successfully in Brighton & Hove since 2014, and we set up the Robin Hood Health Foundation charity in 2016 as a result of rapid growth. We are based at the WellBN GP practice, and receive referrals from across the city. We are funded by Arts Council England, Brighton & Hove City Council, the NHS, public donations and trusts & foundations.
We train a wide range of professional creatives to work with people experiencing long-term health challenges, and support over 1000 individuals each year through our various programmes, mainly adults. Our youngest participants are teenagers, and our oldest so far has been 96. As we work in primary care, we see a very wide range of physical and mental health conditions, and we evaluate our impact using validated tools, which show:
89% of people make improvements in self-care & managing symptoms
94% of people feel more positive & improve social connections
Our work falls under the heading of ‘Social Prescribing’, one of the personalised care pillars of the NHS 10 Year Plan. Social Prescribing:
Uses creativity and other non-medical support to address the ‘social determinants of health’ in NHS primary care, including for very vulnerable people, across the whole life span
Asks ‘What matters to you?’ not ‘What’s the matter with you?’
Is person-centred and values-based: social support, access to advice and creativity are basic rights, regardless of health status - and a healthy life includes creativity
Is a new toolkit for patients and clinical/social care colleagues
Builds links using community, trust, expert knowledge and creativity
Enables people to feel more confident in managing their health & wellbeing, to support each other, and to access wider creative and community resources
Builds awareness & changes perceptions of how better health is created
Addresses the fact that 80% of health outcomes are determined by something other than medical care, such as income, housing or social support.
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England