Creative Alternatives is an award-winning arts and health service for people experiencing stress, anxiety and depression.
There is plenty of research to show that the arts can help improve wellbeing. Creative Alternatives was first commissioned in Merseyside by Sefton Council where we operated as an arts on prescription programme between 2006 and 2016. Since 2015 we have also been working in the borough of St.Helens, where Public Health are funding our creative activities as an alternative or as an addition to standard treatments for people who experience mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress.
In 2017 we piloted Creative Alternatives Online, evaluating how well an arts-on-prescription programme might translate into an online context. The pilot was modelled on our existing service in St.Helens, offering weekly creative and mindfulness-based activities. The online programme was built and delivered through a collaborative learning environment which our commissioner, Alef Trust, also utilises in the delivery of its online education programmes. The participants had access to an entire private website which featured written content, as well as videos and weblinks, pointing to additional resources. Whilst the pilot was small in scale (we engaged 24 participants in total), we were excited to find that those who completed the entire programme benefitted from improved wellbeing and confidence, improved social engagement and even enhanced physical activity. Quantitative evaluation showed that the impact of the pilot was comparable to that of our local service. You can review the Executive Summary of the pilot results: Executive Summary – Creative Alternatives Online
Creative Alternatives is winner of the 2011 North West Public Health Award and the 2016 YOUR HEROES – Team of the Year award.