• SianLewis

How can we reach the most vulnerable?

The Health:Pitch team at work

This was a key point of discussion during last week’s Health:Pitch team zoom meeting.

And, quite honestly, we are still working on the answer.

The significant new study by the Culture Health & Wellbeing Alliance, ‘How creativity and culture are supporting shielding and vulnerable people home during Covid-19', offers valuable (and timely) insight.

The Alliance canvassed 48 organisations, including Health:Pitch partner Celebrating Age Wiltshire, responsible for 50 projects across England and Wales, with a reach of almost 100,000 people, about issues and successes during lockdown.

The findings are clear – inclusive arts are a lifeline to the most vulnerable; quite simply making people feel less alone, less isolated, less forgotten.

Another thing is clear - the challenges faced are considerable.

1/A lack of funding,

2/A lack of value placed on the energy and time requirements involved in creating high-quality culture and creativity to support wellbeing,

3/A lack of joined-up thinking and action from the leaders in health and social care, with the power to drive funding and infrastructure improvements.

4/ The online approach adopted by many projects to reach out to people remotely does not work for the many vulnerable people who are not comfortable online, or who do not have access to the internet.

This last point echoes some of the feedback for our recent music theatre production The Soprano. The eight episodes aired on our YouTube channel. Faced with a global situation none of us had worked in (or even lived through) before, we chose a 'virtual production' to reach people in their homes, in care environments and in many countries.

Francesca Lanza, who starred in The Soprano, celebrating the end of filming

The delighted comments from those who enjoyed The Soprano sparked joy in the whole Health:Pitch team.

However, we learnt a valuable lesson along the way. Many of our most vulnerable potential viewers are wary of YouTube or lack the technology to enjoy online arts.

How can we reach those people?

We don’t yet have all the answers, but this guides us:

We will stay true to our Health:Pitch vision to create and share the highest quality arts with those whose minds and lives can be hardest to reach.

We will focus on the quality of each personal connection, not the quantity, in terms of audience size or scope.

The Alliance, which works for a 'healthy world powered by (our) creativity and imagination, found that the organisations surveyed used online, post and phone to reach people.

And, we are now looking into those options until our performers can visit vulnerable people once more.

This may even see our Health:Pitch performers phoning one person at a time, to sing opera and to chat.

Because one thing we do know for certain is that although government shielding advice eased on August 1st, many vulnerable people still are – or feel - isolated. We are working hard to find them and to find the best ways to reach them - one, by one.

Can you help us?

Are there are vulnerable, isolated people in your care who would benefit from wellbeing support through high-quality arts?

Please get in touch so that we can work together to reach them.

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