Creative Staff Wellbeing Programmes

                                        Feb 2024     

BHSCT Arts in Health……….improved health and wellbeing through access to the arts

Introduction for Managers

BHSCT Arts in Health is delighted to launch a programme of activity supported by Charitable Funds to offer additional opportunities to staff to participate in creative activity to support their wellbeing.


  • Ignite or inspire staff to explore creativity as a way of supporting their wellbeing
  • Promote the 5 Steps to Wellbeing messages and how creative activity links to these
  • Remind staff that have previously had a creative practice that this is something that may be worth revisiting to support their wellbeing
  • To reach staff that find it difficult to take a break during their working day
  • To reach staff that are unlikely to attend Here4U activities or Arts in Health activities held out of working hours

We are offering two strands of activity:

1      Pop Up Art Studio Activities

Through the Pop Up Arts Studio Programme we want to offer short art activities in the heart of very busy staff environments. Artists will set up an activity in the area for staff to drop in throughout the day for 10/15 minutes to create something lovely to take away with them– a gift to themselves or someone else! We hope that this will remind staff of the wellbeing benefits of stepping away for a short break, and doing something to clear your head. We don’t need a big space for this – just a

room that is easily accessible to staff with room for a couple of long tables and for 2 artists and 4 participants at a time. There should be a link staff member on site to encourage as many staff as possible to drop in. We would hope to have 50 staff participate in one of these sessions across a 5/6 hour period. Activities available include printing/watercolour painting/foil embossing.

2      Creative Wellbeing Sessions for Teams

These activities will be can be arranged for teams as part of their working day e.g. a Team

meeting/Team Away Day etc. A single session can be arranged or a session repeated throughout a day (at the same venue) to facilitate larger teams. We can work with you to plan the activity to suit your requirements. Ideally, sessions need to be booked in several weeks in advance as they will be dependent on the facilitator’s availability. Services/teams will need to provide or arrange the venue.

The activities currently on offer are:

  • Writing for Peace and Wellbeing
  • Little Book of Gratitude
  • Resillient Rhythms
  • That Wild Taste of Delight

(Further details of the activities are provided on pages 2-4)

To booking an activity or to find out more information contact:

Paula McHugh, Arts in Health Manager 07885 238398


Workshop One: Writing for Peace & Wellbeing

Facilitator:      Deirdre Cartmill, Arts Care Project Artist

Duration:        1.5 hours

No of participants: 8 minimum and up to 15 in person or online

Details of activity

A gentle and inspiring creative writing session, which will empower people to explore their feelings through writing. No experience is necessary. We will use the five senses to write about an emotion. This can be a memory, a story, or a short poem. Each participant can choose their own emotion, or the session can be

guided towards a positive emotion such as hope. Participants will discover how writing can be a tool for mental and emotional wellbeing. They will also increase their confidence in their writing skills.

The session will help participants to pause and take notice, keep learning, and connect to other people through sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Deirdre Cartmill is an award-winning poet and writer. She has published three poetry collections, and has written for TV, stage and radio.

Workshop Two:       Little Book of Gratitude

Facilitators:     Therese Gorman/ Sally Young Arts Care Project Artists

Duration:         30 minutes

No of Participants: Up to 20 participants at a time up to 100 participants

A Little book of Gratitude is a wee notebook you can tuck into your purse or jacket pocket and use to note down times you feel glad, to re-read at moments of difficulty or challenge.

The activity consists of participants making a tiny decorative book we have called the “Little Book of Gratitude”. The book will have brightly watercolour painted cover embellished with a positive message and can be finished with satin thread, beads and or a tassel.

Research has shown that by using a gratitude journal it encourages us to be more mindful of the good

things in life we might otherwise take for granted; feeling grateful for the people we connect with in our daily lives, and even the smallest day to day sources of pleasure we may experience.

In the making and use of our little books we are taking three of the 5 steps to wellbeing: connecting with what’s going on in our world and the people we meet in the form of the notes we write in our book, taking notice of the beautiful, new or unusual in our surroundings that give us pleasure, and the very act of making the book and partaking in the creative process is one way we keep learning by trying something new that we might not have time or inclination to do normally.

Workshop Three: Resilient Rhythms Ô   

Reconnect with your body, mind, voice, and breath.

 About Us

Resilient Rhythms is an innovative and creative programme with music at its core led by highly experienced allied health professionals and facilitators. It is designed to draw on evidence-based models and proven strategies to help participants to ‘Reconnect with your body, mind, voice, and breath’. Karen Diamond and Louise Kelly are highly experienced facilitators who have drawn on their music therapy practice and further study on the benefits of music for health and wellbeing. Their Resilient RhythmsÔ programme has been delivered across NI, Ireland and the UK.

We will work with you to understand your needs and objectives we can provide or adapt our programme to facilitate a workshop that is uniquely yours.

There are three Resilient Rhythms workshops formats available under the BHSCT Creative Staff Wellbeing Programme:

The Resilient Rhythms Staff Wellbeing Programme takes a fun, engaging experiential approach to the psychological safety and wellbeing of your staff. Providing strategies staff can use to improve their

psychological wellbeing maximises staff performance – a healthy team is a productive team!

  • Resilient Rhythms Staff Wellbeing Workshops – are offered in person or online on a half day basis. Our programme draws on evidence-based models and proven strategies through: Movement  •        Voicework • Positive self • Purposeful breathing • Emotional Regulation

‘I just wanted to say thank you this is the first time I have been able to breathe properly in months’. Participant at a Staff Wellbeing workshop.

  • Singing for Wellbeing – Up to an hour of a fun interactive session

This session begins with an icebreaker and then the benefits of music for wellbeing and in

particular the benefits of singing are introduced – increased positive endorphins etc. Breathwork and body scan with some gentle physical warmups leading into vocal warm ups and movement with singing. In some sessions participants create their own song or in others they get up and moving to chants. This can be at the start of the day, held as an energiser after lunch or to end off the day.

  • Move, Laugh, Connect – Up to an hour of a fun interactive session exploring the benefits of movement, laughter and breath work. These sessions are best held before lunch or at the end of the day as participants are led through a series of activities to increase energy levels while reducing stress.

The workshop enabled us to work together as a group and getting up and moving around together in the room was great fun.” “The quality of the presenters, who are confident and engaging.” “An inspirational and confidence building session.”

Workshop Four: That Wild Taste of Delight – be inspired by our own every day magic!

 Facilitator:                              Sharon Coulter, Arts Care Project Artist

Duration:                                 Can be delivered as a 30 minutes session or up to 2 hours in length.

Number of Participants:    Large and small groups can be facilitated and activities adjusted accordingly.

Details of Activity

Welcome and short explanation of purpose of activity relating to “Take 5 steps to well-being”.

·         Beginning (Take notice /Give)

Approximate 5-7 minutes awareness exercise using Dan Seigal’s “Wheel of Awareness”. This can be done with eyes open or closed and gives participants an opportunity to pause and bring awareness to themselves in the present moment and also to acknowledge connectedness with everyone in the room and beyond.

·         Warm up activity (Connect/ Be Active)

Ball sequencing – this activity can be done sitting or standing and involves participants throwing the ball. They only have to remember who they threw the ball too and who they received it from. It incorporates steps 1 and 2 on “Take 5 steps to wellbeing”. It’s a lot of fun as more balls are added to the sequence.

·         Main Activity

Stories to Make Connections – this activity can be done in small groups. Themes are introduced,

that are common, to provoke stories. These stories can be shared with group members and then, if given permission, can be shared with the larger group. This can be a lot of fun as people make

connections through their stories. Sculpting – Groups are invited to make sculpts of different emotions and other groups are asked to guess what the sculpts might be.

·         Activity to close

Reflection – worst thing about activities, best thing about activities. Discussion in groups.

These creative structures/exercises promote positive interaction and inclusion, with the aim of lightening the mood and disrupting the stress cycle which can be acute for those working in healthcare. All these activities can be adapted depending on make-up of groups.