Sherborne Arts Link Limited. Charity no. 1007680 Company no. 2471382
was an Art for Wellbeing project conceived and managed by Sherborne ArtsLink funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. It addressed aspects of physical, mental and social well-being, supporting participants to help manage their conditions, situations, and health, to enhance and support their lives through three creative opportunities, Parkinson’s Dance, Art for Memory and Art for Parents. ArtsLink Fizz! took place in Sherborne, Dorset from May 2017 to August 2021, operating for 4 years and 4 months.
Why Art for Wellbeing?
During challenging times of life, taking part in regular creative art and movement activities, forming friendships and developing a new support network, can help with major life challenges, boost confidence, reduce feelings of isolation, alleviate anxiety and stress while supporting mental and physical health. ArtsLink Fizz! focused on supporting people living with the challenges of Parkinson’s disease, those experiencing the early stages of memory loss for any reason and parents and carers of primary age children who were finding things a little bit tough. Free to take part with a transport bursary in place to reduce barriers to attending, ArtsLink Fizz! supported 106 people directly from across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire from 2017-2021.
What we did... Parkinson’s Dance Following the Parkinson’s Dance Science model of teaching, co-founded by Neuro-Physiotherapist Dr Sophia Hulbert and Dance Artist Aimee Hobbs with the support of Pavilion Dance SW, this joyful and empowering dance class provided weekly exercise and social support to 45 dancers and their partners during the project. Supporting our specialist dance teachers were a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers who helped dancers with mobility and served the all-important tea and cake after each class! We also provided a venue to help facilitate the training of new Parkinson’s Dance tutors with Dr Sophia Hulbert, Aimee Hobbs and Pavilion Dance SW and supported one of our own volunteers to complete their training and become one of our class tutors.
You can let yourself go where else can you do that?
Art for Memory Our weekly classes became a social and supportive place filled with laughter and the most wonderful creativity. Our tutor and support worker created a safe place for our artists to try new things, rekindle lost passions and spark memories, to join in and feel a part of something designed specifically for them. Individual sketch books became a treasure filled with new creative memories – techniques, finished artworks and even the occasional tea stain! Time to chat during tea and biscuits was just as important as the art itself and the friendships that developed were joyful. We supported 32 people and also many of their carers during our three classes a week.
It made me realise I can still do things that I thought I couldn’t do. Art for Memory artist
Art for Parents Do you understand the very real value of creativity, chat and cake? Our art classes have been a safe place to share the tricky stuff and the celebrations, a place for tears and laughter, lots of creative experimenting and the ever important cake! Building a close support network for a group of parents and carers of primary age children who might not normally have made those connections has been invaluable. Our weekly, term-time classes have been a child free time where all our participants have needed to do is turn up and join in with 29 parents and carers supported during the project. Micro businesses have evolved from some of our activities, college places and new jobs applied for, choirs have been joined, confidence has soared and friendships are long-lasting. The inspirational nature of the art has been ‘infectious’ as an artist told of how she had taken her work home and shown it to her children, the children had been inspired by it, mentioned it at school and the activity was taken up there!
This is like a sunny day… there is a lightness… you stop thinking… it’s therapeutic. Art for Parents artist
Exhibitions and Celebrations: ‘Celebrating the Arts’ was our ArtsLink Fizz! celebration of creativity and well-being held in June 2018 and 2019. Showcasing artwork created by all of our amazing artists in an impressive exhibition space alongside all of the ArtsLink class participants and tutor work too with art workshops and talks, this was also an opportunity for our Parkinson’s Dancers to give a Tango Demonstration, host a Tea-dance, perform the Sherborne Parkinson’s Dance Haka and to host a dance workshop for friends, family and Celebration visitors with audience participation an important part of the day! Family workshops were run by some of our Art for Parents participants and their visitors were blown away by the standard of artwork on display!
Covid-19: How we Continued!! Covid-19 changed the shape of each of our projects but did not stop us... During lockdown 1 in April 2020 we developed our Art at Home packs, sending art supplies and weekly activities to all of our Art for Parents and Art for Memory participants. These activities were then also made available through our website as an online resource and were shared extensively across social media platforms to the much wider online community with over 950 visits to these resources. We formed a Parkinson’s Dance Hub with Pavilion Dance, Forest Arts Centre and Dorchester Arts Centre and created an online Parkinson’s Dance library – our tutors recorded classes and these were then shared via a private youtube channel with over 750 virtual visits to our library. Classes moved onto Zoom which enabled us to interact again with our Parkinson’s Dance and Art for Parents participants on a weekly basis. A four month extension was granted to ArtsLink Fizz! enabling us, once restrictions were lifted, to open up all classes face to face for a final term of creativity and of course cake!
Laughter leads to endorphins and for a split second they can forget about troubles. Parkinson’s Dance tutor
It is nice to feel that you are not coping on your own. Art for Memory artist
We are a family not a group! Art for Parents artist
Outcomes The following project outcomes were agreed with the National Lottery.
Chart of Achievement of ArtsLink Fizz! Project Outcomes Evaluation undertaken by Bournemouth University 2017-2021
Parkinson’s Dance Overall outcome
People with Parkinson’s will improve knowledge of their body movement, gaining confidence to apply this knowledge to support their movement.
YES, OUTCOME WAS ACHIEVED
Art for Memory Overall outcome
People with memory loss will be less isolated and gain confidence as a result of regular participation in creative activities.
YES, OUTCOME WAS ACHIEVED
Art for Parents Overall outcome
Parents will be less isolated and have improved coping strategies as a result of participation in social, art and craft activities.
YES, OUTCOME WAS ACHIEVED
Number of classes - 145
Number of dancers supported - 45
Art for Memory:
Number of classes - 123
Number of artists supported - 32
Art for Parents:
Number of classes - 142
Number of artists supported - 29
A mind-blowing 868 volunteer hours supported ArtsLink Fizz! Over 750 hours of art for wellbeing were enjoyed! 106 people directly benefited from our projects
A future for all of the ArtsLink Fizz! projects is hugely important to Sherborne ArtsLink – we are working hard to secure this. For the individuals taking part in our projects, the positive impact on their lives has been significant. Confidence has increased, mood lifted, mobility improved and the ability to try new things or rediscover old passions has been considerable. New friendships have been formed, businesses started, college courses enrolled on, self-esteem boosted and there has been lots and lots of laughter!
“Did we mention cake???!!!” Knowing my favourite cake has been bought, just because our tutor knows I like it is special – no-one ever does that for me. Art for Parents artist
ArtsLink Fizz! We could not have done this alone and you have all contributed to making positive change for people within our community, supporting their health and wellbeing through creativity.
It felt creative, supportive and fun, but also serious and therapeutic. Bournemouth University researcher
A special mention to:
• Our fantastic Tutors and Support Worker
• Our amazing Volunteers
• Parkinson’s Support groups, Parkinson’s nurses and the
Parkinson’s Dance Regional Hub
• Local primary schools, children’s centres, Sherborne
Yeatman Hospital, Sherborne Museum, local NHS staff and NHS organisations who believed in and supported this project
• Local venues
• The community and all individuals who took part
• Evaluation Researchers at Bournemouth University
ArtsLink Fizz! was managed by Project Manager Kate Osman, with the support of the ArtsLink Managers and Trustees. Finally, a huge thank you to the National Lottery Community Fund for funding this amazing opportunity. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Conceived, delivered and managed by Sherborne Artslink. Full Evaluation Report researched by Bournemouth University.
People feel why it helps Parkinson’s Dance tutor
I feel I’m with friends here, my words get lost but here no-one minds. Art for Memory artist
Seeing confidence grow, a new desire to take risks, to trust others and the joy experienced from being a part of something bigger than themselves is just part of what makes Art for Parents special. Art for Parents tutor