Leeds charities receive £50,000 to help wellbeing of Chapeltown, Gipton and Harehills communities

Three Leeds-based charities have received nearly £50,000 to help people in east Leeds engage more with arts, nature and sporting activities.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 9:47 am

The Thriving Communities Fund has given the charities the money for the health and wellbeing of communities in Chapeltown, Gipton and Harehills.

Space2, an arts and social change organisation, will work with the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, Feel Good Factors and a range of community partners across the city on this 'social prescribing programme'.

It aims to deliver activities which tackle social isolation and improve people's wellbeing.

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Kali Chandrasegaram a dancer from the Balbir Singh Dance Company showcasing Odissi Dance in Gledhow Valley Woods to some of the Fiends of Gledhow Valley Woods (left to right: David Miles, Adrian Coltman and Natalie Tharraleas) credit: Gary Longbottom

According to Space2, social prescribing is a way for primary health care and other local organisations to refer members of the public to non-medicalised activities where appropriate.

Wellbeing coordinators are trained to talk to people, focus on 'what matters to me' and take a holistic approach to health.

They will then connect people to community groups and other local services for practical and emotional support and engagement - promoting a route which frees up GP resources and time.

The scheme offers a range of activities, from diverse dance classes with Balbir Singh Dance Company to deaf and visual impairment awareness training and peer-led support group sessions delivered by BID Leeds Hearing and Sight Loss Service.

Joint CEO of Space2, Emma Tregidden, said: “The impact of COVID-19 on mental health has been massive and this funding will allow us to offer activities which meet the needs of our local communities and help to improve health and wellbeing.

“It will increase engagement in a range of activities in some of the poorest areas of the city where we know that residents are economically and socially disadvantaged, and have had the highest impact from the pandemic.”

The strategic partners working on the Thriving Communities project include The Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds Conservation Volunteers, Linking Leeds, and the NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group to name a few.

Sue Wilkinson, pathway integration manager at NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and Anna Quinn-Martin at Linking Leeds, who have worked in partnership to support the project, said: “This project will help to increase social connectedness, supporting communities who face the biggest barriers to accessing activities and wellbeing support.

"We are delighted to be able to enhance social prescribing opportunities in Leeds and better understand the assets in our local communities by working with these innovative organisations.”

The scheme's Art Doctors will work with six social prescribing wellbeing coordinators in Leeds to develop their understanding of the impact of arts, creativity, nature and movement-based activities on mental health and wellbeing.

James Sanderson, chief executive of the National Academy for Social Prescribing said: “The last year has shown how important social prescribing is in helping people to stay connected, feel supported and to maintain their wellbeing.

“We began our ambitious agenda to support people, like those living in Leeds, to live the best life they can by accessing support in their local communities based on what matters to them.

“We are so pleased to support, and encourage, this project through the Thriving Communities Fund, to deliver everything from dance to cricket, poetry to conservation, and more.”