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Thriving communities Bristol evaluation report 2023

Holt, Nicola; Dunn, Lerato


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Nicola Holt
Associate Professor in Psychology

Lerato Dunn


Thriving Communities Bristol developed partnerships between grassroots organisations with the aim of improving practice and knowledge of social prescribing in the city.

Between June 2021 and June 2022, the project’s partners identified need and developed six innovative social prescribing programmes involving aspects of art, nature, and physical activity. Participants from targeted groups, such as women experiencing chronic pain, carers and children, and young people experiencing anxiety were referred to the activities by health professionals. Project partners reflected on the processes involved and evaluated how and whether the programmes improved participant wellbeing.

The partnership network established has led to further collaboration and successfully funded activity using local and community assets. Programmes were well received by participants who experienced improvements in mood, attention, and loneliness. They described feelings of increased social connection, self-efficacy, confidence, and moments of awe, beauty, and ‘escape’. They valued the sense that activities took place in a safe space, that was created and held by trusted specialist facilitators.

These successes should help lay the foundations for future work in this area. But our report also illustrates what is needed to sustain such work. It highlights a need for the artist facilitator role to receive greater recognition in social prescribing models and for further support and training for facilitators. It identifies where pathways and processes for communication and responsibility must be established for outcomes to be sustained and evaluated in the longer term.


Holt, N., & Dunn, L. (2023). Thriving communities Bristol evaluation report 2023. Arts Council and National Academy of Social Prescribing

Report Type Consultancy Report
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jan 11, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 12, 2024
Keywords Art on prescription, art on referral, arts and health, community health, thriving communities
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