After the success of the first Art by Post scheme, run in partnership with the Southbank Centre, we are delighted to announce round two, Art by Post: Poems for Our Planet.
Born during the pandemic, Art by Post was a way of getting free social prescribing activity booklets to those were most isolated during COVID-19. The project reached almost 4,500 people aged 18-103 across the UK, including through charities, arts organisations, care homes, hospitals, specialist dementia services, prison facilities and housing initiatives.
According to feedback from participants, 90% agreed Art by Post had given them something to look forward to, 86% felt inspired to be more creative, 75% agreed that it had improved their wellbeing, while 73% said it had helped them to feel more positive.
Art by Post: Poems for Our Planet is addressing the same need for creativity and connection. But this time artists - including author Shazea Quraishi, musician and performing artist Love Ssega and poet and naturalist Anna Selby - have come up with activities which also help people connect with the living world.
Our recent evidence summaries clearly show the benefits of both creativity and engaging with nature for physical and mental health. One recent review of 51 studies looking at the mental health benefits of nature recreation showed that 90% of articles reported at least one positive finding, including decreases in anxiety and depression. However, access to nature is not distributed equally.
We hope that, with these booklets, we can bring the benefits of nature connection to those who might not ordinarily be able to access it.
Participants can refer themselves, be referred by a friend, family member or Social Prescribing Link Worker, or organisations can sign up to receive the booklets in bulk.
Referrers are also invited to a free monthly creative workshop to find out more about the project and to support their own wellbeing through creativity.
Some of the poetry created by participants will be included in an installation as part of the Southbank Centre’s wider summer season of work centering on the climate, with a focus on empathy and activism.