Fresh Arts on Referral Evaluation

Willis Newson delivered a mixed-methods evaluation of Fresh Arts on Referral, the first arts on prescription programme to be trialled in an acute hospital. The evaluation sought to understand whether the social prescribing model commonly used in community and primary care settings might support the needs of hospital patients with a range of chronic conditions.
“Coming here was a catalyst for my creativity; a ray of light”
Fresh Arts on Referral was delivered by Fresh Arts, the arts programme of North Bristol NHS Trust, with artists Ali Brown, Rachel Davis and writer Claire Williamson. Eight six-week arts programmes for Cancer, Chronic Pain and Dementia patients took place at Southmead Hospital Bristol between March – July 2018.  
“Other groups (self/peer support groups) have focused too much on difficulties which is draining. Here the focus is the art.”
The evaluation concluded that Fresh Arts on Referral provided an important and valued source of support for the 65 patients who took part. It has impacted significantly on the ability of patients with chronic conditions to better manage their conditions through self-care while also enabling healthcare staff to empathise with and better understand the daily impact of a condition.
“This is how we’re rebuilding ourselves”
“Elsewhere people do things for me - here I was able to stand and do things.”
Fresh Arts on Referral was developed and managed by Fresh Arts in collaboration with arts and healthcare consultants Willis Newson. It was funded by North Bristol NHS Trust Hospital Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support and Arts Council England.
Download the Fresh Arts on Referral Evaluation full report here and the Project Case Study here. If you are interested in hearing more about the programme, the model we used or the evaluation findings, please contact