A new art initiative is coming to Newcastle Hospitals thanks to funding arranged between Newcastle Hospitals Charity and NHS Charities Together.
The Newcastle project is the brainchild of Maurya Cushlow, Executive Chief Nurse at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who has seen first-hand the benefits art in hospitals brings for patients and staff.
The project has many benefits, one of which is playing a therapeutic role supporting the mental health and wellbeing of colleagues. It is one of a range of initiatives to be supported by NHS Charities Together with the aim of helping staff to recover from the pandemic.
With funding from NHS Charities Together, Newcastle Hospitals will recruit a new Art in Hospitals Programme Manager, who will develop and steer an initial 12 month arts programme pilot.
“The importance to both staff and patients and the benefits that a creative art in hospitals programme can bring is well documented,” said Maurya. “It is well recognised that improving the environment for both staff and patients has a therapeutic benefit.
“There is lots of research on projects like these which demonstrates the positive impact art has on staff mental health and wellbeing and how it also engenders a sense of belonging.”
She added: “There are some very strong art in hospitals projects but to make ours work we needed additional funding which was the challenge. The project needed to be coordinated and we wanted someone to be suitably ambitious. We want to establish something that really makes the hospitals part of the communities that we serve.”
The programme will include many strands such as music, design, contemporary art and photography and will really enable staff to get involved in giving back to local communities as well as celebrating excellence in the Trust’s staff groups with any budding photographers or artists.
Newcastle Hospitals has a strong history here in the City and there are collections already in the hospitals, which can be put on show.
Peacock Hall, which was originally opened on 11 July 1906 by King Edward VII, is home to our Newcastle Hospitals Charity and the building is steeped in history, which the Statue of Queen Victoria outside pays tribute to.
Maurya added: “Our arts programme will allow patients to get involved in the hospital and the life of the hospital in the broadest sense. We have a long standing history in our local community and populations and there is something for everyone to get involved with.”