Culture Health Wellbeing Alliance Launch the Creative Health Quality Framework

Culture Health Wellbeing Alliance have just launched The Framework. Shaped through extensive collaboration with the Creative Health sector, the Quality Framework has been informed by people with direct experience of Creative Health practice and builds on existing work articulating what good looks like across the creative, cultural and health sectors. Its development has been supported by Arts Council England, and it is aimed at everyone involved in Creative Health work, including:

  • Freelance creative and cultural practitioners
  • Creative and cultural organisations
  • Health, social care, and community sector partners
  • Policy makers, funders, and commissioners
  • Educators and trainers, including in further and higher education – training both creative health practitioners and partners in health and social care.

ACHWS will be attending the conference and will be sharing insights, learnings and details of the Creative Health Quality Framework when it is launched.

Fair Funding and Fair Work – Is it possible in the Third Sector

The Scottish Government has a clear commitment to becoming a Fair Work Nation and has guidance in place on what ‘fair work’ means with the key principles – effective voice, respect, opportunity, fulfilment and security.  For many voluntary organisations it is not as straight forward as it sounds, especially for those in the third sector and others who work across the arts, culture, health and wellbeing space.

At the end of 2022 the Scottish Government announced its intent to adopt fair funding principles in investing in the voluntary sector from 2023 onwards. Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations response paper Fair Funding for the Voluntary Sector focused on actions that the Scottish Government and other funders could take to ensure that funding arrangements with voluntary organisations are fair.

In August SCVO and TSI Scotland Network followed this up with a joint paper highlighting funding practices that can cause barriers in the sector and their wider impacts e.g. funding is often awarded for only one year at a time, making it very difficult to plan for the future; the value of contracts and grants rarely keeps pace with inflation; funding is more readily available for short term projects than ongoing core costs; the funding awarded does not always cover the full cost of a piece of work, such as organisational overheads ; decision making about funding can be slow, and payment of funds can be delayed, leaving third sector organisations uncertain about their future.

They put the case that Fair Work is central to a sustainable sector which can support staff and volunteers and deliver quality outcome but ask for changes to enable third sector organisations to become Fair Work employers, through funding, which is long term, flexible, sustainable, and accessible.

As part of The Programme for Government (PfG) outlined by First Minister Humza Yousaf, earlier this year, it was great to see the Government commit to developing a plan for Fairer Funding of the Scottish Third Sector, including greater clarity and consistency of existing arrangements and recognising the sector’s strategic role.

Anna Fowlie, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (SCVO) chief executive responded and while many of the priorities were welcomed across Scotland’s Third Sector, she said more must be done. ‘While the PfG recognises the contribution voluntary organisations make across different portfolios, it doesn’t move far or fast enough to address fundamental changes to the operating environment that would recognise the vital role of Scotland’s voluntary sector in delivering on government priorities. To secure the future of the invaluable work our sector delivers, we must not only address disappointing practice, but also implement the longer-term improvements that are so desperately needed.’

Creative Industries Sector Vision: A joint plan to drive growth, build talent and develop skills.

The DCMS and Creative Industries Council published the Creative Industries Sector Vision, which sets out the ambition to maximise the growth of the creative industries by £50bn by 2030.

As well as detailing goals and objectives to deliver on this, the sector vision is for the creative industries to become an even greater growth engine, where creative talent from all backgrounds, and creative businesses from all areas in the UK, can thrive.

In Chapter 3 of the report, which explores wider impact, the goal is to “maximise the positive impact of the creative industries on individuals and communities, the environment and the UK’s global standing” and recognises the potential the creative industries have to help address health and wellbeing challenges and foster pride in place, which contributes to community cohesion and local regeneration.

It goes on to discuss three key objectives where the sector has a strong track record and demonstrable potential to make an even bigger impact in the future: health and wellbeing, environment and soft power.

Under the Scotland contribution it says – The Scottish Government and agencies have a range of interventions to unlock the wider impacts of the creative industries. Creative Placemaking is a pioneering methodology that uses creativity to support community-led change and is being successfully applied through a network of towns across the South of Scotland. The network is supporting the growth of local creative hubs, and in Dumfries has led to the founding of a community benefit society, which is bringing a section of the high street into community ownership.

Find out more here Creative Industries Sector Vision (

Art, refugees and mental health: a new report

The Baring Foundation has published a new report in the ‘Creatively Minded’ series, Creatively Minded and Refugees. The report was compiled and produced by Counterpoints Arts. It highlights the importance of the arts for refugees experiencing trauma and poor mental health.  Check out their other reports in the series including Creatively Minded at the Museum: the podcasts, Creatively Minded and Heritage, Creatively Minded and the NHS and Creatively Minded and Ethnically Diverse, Creatively Minded & Young as well as a range of other resources.

Scotland to Improve Healthcare in Rural Areas with new National Centre

There is a change coming which has the potential to positively impact on the connection, collaboration and partnerships across culture and arts in health and wellbeing health and social practice in rural locations.

The Scottish Government has announced plans for a new National Centre in Scotland which aims to reduce health inequalities and improve the delivery of healthcare services in rural communities. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) have been commissioned by the Scottish Government (Primary Care Directorate) to establish the National Centre for Remote and Rural Health and Social Care which will support excellence in the design, delivery and evaluation of remote and rural health and social care research, education, innovation, practice, recruitment and retention.

The centre will be supported by funding of £3 million from 2023-2026 and is expected to improve the capability of remote, rural and island primary care and enhance the delivery of community-based services.

The idea is that these improved outcomes can be best achieved by the co-ordination and resources the Centre will provide. The centre will work with NHS boards virtually and locally to improve rural workforce and retention and develop new and innovative services to help deliver better results for patients.

Spotlight on Alexandra McGregor

This is the first in a series of Spotlight articles focusing on the diverse range of people working across arts, culture, health and wellbeing and sharing some insight into their role, a typical day or their experience of working in the sector.

Alexandra McGregor is the Project Assistant at Grampian Health Arts Trust.

I started working with GHAT in 2019 as a volunteer Gallery Assistant in The Suttie Arts Space. This gave me the confidence to apply for the new Project Assistant role when it came up in March 2022, which I got.

The first project I assisted on was ‘Introducing the artists’, an exhibition of GHAT staff artwork in The Suttie Arts Space. I worked on the social media posts gathering and writing information around the artists exhibiting.

There have been several varied exhibitions since then, one of which was ‘Gloss Comfort’ where alongside the Project Manager, Tamsin Greenlaw, we had the challenge of installing artist Hélène Bellenger’s 140 A4 inkjet prints on dibond onto the walls of The Suttie Art Space. They were hung in a straight line and displayed in a coloured scale starting from red through orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and ending in pink.

It was great to hear some of the positive feedback from staff visitors and patients when visiting this exhibition and staff members talking to each other saying that they ‘liked the exhibition and thought it was a great space’.

The project that I have been primarily involved with is the Baird and ANCHOR Arts Project. There has been lots of learning involved in delivering an arts and environment project of this scale.

My first task was to research advertising methods for the various art commissions for the new Baird Family Hospital and the ANCHOR Centre being built on Foresterhill site.

The most recent part of this project has been assisting the artists in delivering creative activities for the engagement and consultation sessions.

In total, we engaged with over 400 individuals over 15 different clinical departments in ARI and the Maternity Hospital.

In my time as a volunteer Gallery Assistant through to my current role as Project Assistant, I have helped in the creative activities event held annually in The Suttie Art Space for the Medical Humanities Students.

We have had the students making paper perfume filters, group activities in which they created titles for artworks we had on display, and a potato and spoon race around the gallery.

This role has taken me in many different directions, I look forward to the continuation of various projects and to see them come to full fruition.

In the image Alexandra is pictured in the Gallery at artist Michelle Hannah’s exhibition ‘Alienation’

If you have someone that you would like to appear in the Spotlight on… series, please get in touch with

New Director of Place and Wellbeing joins Public Health Scotland


Ruth Glassborow has today joined Public Health Scotland (PHS) as the new Director of Place and Wellbeing.

Speaking on the appointment, Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of PHS said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Ruth Glassborow today as Director of Place and Wellbeing at Public Health Scotland. Ruth joins us from Healthcare Improvement Scotland where she provided strategic leadership for the development and delivery of national programmes that support the redesign and continuous improvement of health and social care services across Scotland.”

Ruth previously led work at Scottish Government providing leadership for a range of programmes focused on delivering sustained improvements across dementia and mental health services. Prior to this she held a range of senior management positions in health and social care around the UK, with a primary focus on mental health, learning disability and substance use services.

Ruth’s experience bridges policy and delivery – incorporating learning from practice to inform policy as well as translating policy aspirations into national change initiatives that deliver positive impacts at an individual and population level.

Ruth, who is passionate about the importance of both reducing health inequalities and increasing healthy life expectancy, said:

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to influence this important agenda and work with colleagues across PHS, and our key delivery partners, to find ways of creating a more equal society where everyone had the opportunity to thrive”.

Community Wealth Building and the Creative Industries

Community Enterprise and Creative Scotland are working in partnership to create a piece of research focusing on Community Wealth Building and the Creative Industries.

Community Wealth Building (CWB) is a new people-centred approach to local economic development, which redirects wealth back into the local economy, and places control and benefits into the hands of local people.

The aim of this research is to support Scotland’s creative industries in developing a clearer understanding of the principles, opportunities and goals of Community Wealth Building and to identify models of practice and exemplars that will support the creative and cultural sector in engaging with this policy imperative.

The following objectives underpin this research:

  1. Explore the role creative industries have in the CWB agenda including key enablers and barriers.
  2. Clearly set out the opportunities the CWB agenda creates for creative and cultural organisations.
  3. Deliver a locally designed place-based intervention within three local authority areas that supports creative and cultural organisations to learn about and progress their work in relation to CWB.

This survey will ultimately help Creative Scotland facilitate greater opportunities for creative industries within the CWB agenda so if you want to ensure that arts and culture in the health and wellbeing areas are represented then have your say and take part in the survey –

Skylark IX: Recovery Through Recovery: in Partnership with the Scottish Maritime Museum


The Skylark IX Recovery Trust cares for a ‘Dunkirk Little Ship’ that saved lives during Operation Dynamo in 1940 and was herself later saved from a watery grave at Loch Lomond in 2012. Today, as a symbol of recovery and resilience, Skylark IX sits at the heart of our projects inspiring people to make positive changes to their lives and communities.

Boatbuilding is an important part of our Project and our Boatbuilding Workshop, which we run in partnership with our boatbuilding friends at Archipelago Folk School, is housed in the Scottish Maritime Museum (Denny Tank) in Dumbarton.

The project

This inspirational project supports people with addiction issues, using heritage and skills development to build confidence, resilience and self-worth. The Skylark IX is a Dunkirk Little Ship that ended her working life as a pleasure craft on Loch Lomond before ultimately sinking. Her recovery from the bottom of the river inspired Alternatives, a local boat club and a veterans’ charity to form the Skylark IX Recovery Trust, which aims to help people on their journey from personal chaos towards wholeness and citizenship.

Volunteer Trainees from Alternatives Community-based Recovery and Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol (DACA) gain boatbuilding and joinery skills, confidence and purpose as part of their journey of recovery from addictions alongside other volunteers from the local community. After completing ‘Happy Days’, our first 22ft St Ayles Rowing Skiff, we are now underway building two Canadian canoes, a ‘Prospector’ and a ‘Peterborough’.

‘Being involved with the project gives me a sense of purpose and routine. I know I can be at the workshop on Mondays, and Tuesdays and I’ll have people around me I can talk to. I can look back see how far I’ve come as last year I wouldn’t have believed in myself or had the confidence, and I wouldn’t have had these opportunities or been able to do all of these things and the other wee projects within the project. I’d encourage others to get involved, definitely’ James, client and volunteer.

Challenges and successes

Running a project during a worldwide pandemic posed inevitable challenges as we did not have access to the Museum workshop, and of course had very little contact with each other. However, we are very proud of what we achieved. We provided people locked in together in recovery residential accommodation with creative and social activities, facilitating their learning and encouraging cooperation and team working.

We work alongside people who are socially excluded and stigmatised, building trust, treating all with respect. Everyone becomes a “crew member” when they join our team and they proudly wear the t-shirt. Our Dunkirk Little Ship’s story and her part in rescuing soldiers from the beaches resonates strongly with our participants.

Our social capital locally is very high because of our consistent communication with our partners and stakeholders and via social media and the local press. We have worked very hard to ensure people know and understand our purpose throughout with communication and consultation.

The impact it has made.

The feedback from regular participants is powerful. People report the project is therapeutic and gives them structure, a sense of purpose and routine.

The project has also impacted on the Scottish Maritime Museum who are planning to include the Spirit of Skylark Centre at Dumbarton in their future sustainability plans.

Lessons learned.

Sustainability of our work is vitally important. Short term project activity can be very damaging to fragile people who need to be supported on an ongoing basis. We are working with our partners to fundraise for the long term.

Skylark is a heritage project delivered by a grassroots community drugs recovery charity with an embedded heritage professional working full time alongside key workers. There are no barriers to connecting with the community because we are in the community.

We encourage others to seek new partnerships, consider new models for jointly operating your sites. Consult and share your plans and progress with local people, supporters and advocates and don’t underestimate grassroots charities.

If you would like more information about this project please contact Claire McDade, Project Manager, the Skylark IX Recovery Project, email: Visit our new website at

A Chat with David Culter – the Baring Foundation


In August David Cutler, Director, Barings Foundation, joined the ACHWS working group to outline the work of foundation, areas of interest and topics they are currently exploring.

The Baring Foundation was set up in 1969 by Barings Bank. In 1995, when the bank collapsed, the foundation became independent with an endowment which sits around £100 Million, managed by Baillie Gifford.  This gives an annual budget of around £5 Million. It has focused on three core grant programmes: ArtsInternational Development and Strengthening Civil Society.

The Arts Programme has an annual fund of around £1.5 – 2 Million. There has been a focus on a number of areas over this time but since 2020 they have had a focus on creative opportunities for people with mental health problems across the UK.

They look for areas where there are limited funding opportunities available and where a small amount of money can be used strategically to make a real difference. They aim to work primarily with arts and cultural organisations as well as other organisations that create participatory arts opportunities for creative expression rather than specific health gain.

The Baring Foundation believes everyone has a right to be creative and to take part in what the arts and culture have to offer. The arts have long played a role in giving a voice to people with mental health problems, including to challenge aspects of the mental health system. Society is experiencing a shift towards greater understanding and awareness of mental health problems and the arts have a role in this too. The arts are also a route to recovery, building self-confidence and new skills and they can also simply be pleasurable, relaxing and fun.

They carried out research into work already happening in this area across the UK and found a huge number of fantastic examples but also became aware of issues around visibility, profile and fragmentation. They recognise priorities in different regions vary but all generally cover similar areas and have specific focus areas including e.g. inclusion, ethnic diversity and refugees.

David raised a few areas they are looking into at the moment including best practice when working with men and mental health, not just men only projects but anyone working with men. If you are working in this area or are aware of projects that might be of interest, then get in touch with David. He has a blog on their website with more information.

They are also exploring what ‘supporting the artist’ means as it is a topic often talked about but rarely unpicked which causes confusion and in many cases, it can cover a number of areas. He also called for the Scottish Government to consider the importance of the mental health of all artists and practitioners in the Culture Strategy and talked about a wide range of research projects they are supporting in this area across the UK.

The foundation works in partnership across a wide range of organisations across the UK including the recent Participatory Arts and Mental Health Fund, managed by Creative Scotland which closed in July this year. We know this fund was hugely oversubscribed and we await details of the successful projects so watch this space for more details.