Our Arts for Health Newsletters

We produce a regular Arts for Health Newsletter which includes information on what we are up to at the moment and some useful links and information about Arts for Health.

We hope you enjoy reading our Newsletters and please email us at artsforhealth@mpft.nhs.uk if there is anything you would like to find out more about.

Thanks as ever to all our clinical and AHP staff for their support with our work and to all our fabulous artists, musicians and creative practitioners who bring valued engagement to our people.

Arts for Health Newsletter - Spring 2023

Here is our Spring update from Arts for Health with information on all our current programmes, successes, special events and general news…..

Transformation Partnership  

Arts for Health have been working with the team leading on the Transformation Partnership within the Trust to bring additional creative activities and events to our acute wards at St George’s Hospital. We are really excited about this extra boost of funding as it has enabled us to deliver additional workshops and live music concerts plus the offer of extra creative resources to inpatients, providing access to interesting, engaging and supportive creativity on all our acute wards at St George’s hospital site. 

With this funding, we have also been able to recruit a number of young, emerging artists who have not worked within mental health previously. This is exciting as it broadens our resource of capable and professional artists and musicians who are being mentored by our more experienced artists. 

The new projects include:

Artists Maggie and Amy working on Brocton WardMaggie Hollinshead and Amy Louise-Davies working on Brocton ward – using textiles, mixed media and other materials and techniques, Maggie and Amy are bringing interesting making activities to the ward, this is additional to the creative delivery by artist Debbie Todd who has been working with the Trust for many years and consistently brings a range of creative engagement to our adults on Brocton and Chebsey wards – for which we are very grateful.


Mark Uttley and Maddy Blatherwick-Plumb on Baswich and Bromley wards – Mark has worked on the older adult wards for many years and brought a huge range of creative ideas to theArt workshop on wards  inpatients there. Joined by Maddy who is a young emerging artist – they have introduced new ideas and techniques and Maddy has enjoyed the opportunity to become more familiar with this setting. 

Artist Tess Radcliffe in workshopTess Radcliffe on Chebsey ward. Tess is a professional artist from the region who is very much centred on drawing skills, photography, film and other media. Tess is bringing a range of ideas to the ward and encouraging the development of drawing skills. Over the next few weeks the participants will be exploring a range of themes from drawing landscapes at night, the Spring sunrise, birds and flora through tracing, stencilling, collage and using photos as inspiration. Tess is joined by a volunteer artist who is himself a very skilled draughtsman.


Mark Uttley on Norbury ward. Artist Mark Uttley is working with inpatients on Norbury ward to create bird designs.These designs will be recreated/ fabricated in vinyl/ Perspex and will be attachedMark Uttley on Norbury Ward.jpg to a delicate frame that will then hang from the atrium. The atrium has beautiful images of clouds all around the walls so these birds will look fantastic when completed and installed.  These sessions are all funded by Transformation Partnership in association with Arts for Health. 

Playing Card project

Image of Playing Card projectArtist Mark Uttley, along with one of our newer artists Maddy Blatherwick-Plumb, have been visiting all the acute wards at St George’s and Redwoods with a box of varied art materials and ideas – to encourage inpatients and staff to create artworks that can be used as the images for a set of playing cards. The images would be used to eventually be printed up to form a number of complete sets of cards. These sets of playing cards would then be distributed to all the wards for use by patients and staff. 

Milford Ward enhancement project

Milford Ward enhancement project with artists Mark and KateTwo artists are working on Milford ward this year with inpatients and staff to devise some themes, colours and designs which will be used in a variety of ways, techniques and processes to create artworks that will enhance the ward spaces. The ward has been refurbished and painted but desperately needs some inclusion of arts and creativity. 

Mark Uttley will in the first instance take on the lead artist role and is mentoring artist and illustrator Kate Slater who is new to working within mental health settings, but is quickly taking the lead with many aspects of this project.

As a team they will deliver workshops to inpatients in a variety of techniques and materials, leading to some finished artworks to be exhibited or enhance the ward spaces. We hope to move into the garden during the summer months to have an impact there also.

Live music 

Musicians Sarah and Steve playing at Redwoods A host of musicians continue to visit our acute and specialist services wards on a regular basis and we continue with our Live Music in the Bistro series at Redwoods – some of theMember of staff dancing  concerts are supported financially by Music in Hospitals in Care – for which we are very grateful – their two musicians Dan Walsh and Bob Gessey are regular monthly visitors at both St George’s and Redwoods….along with our talented regular musicians who support our programme brilliantly.

Designs in Mind

Designs in Mind artworkDesigns in Mind in Oswestry are a not-for-profit organisation comprising professional artists and service user members. They develop arts commissions for local organisations and community settings and now have a retail shop beneath their workshop spaces in Oswestry. We are working with their lead artist Bridie Dunbabbin plus a number of their members to support a plan to introduce some new artwork to the Redwoods centre, to update and build on existing historical artwork and improve the general overall feel of the spaces, the wards and communal areas.

Through a course of workshops, Designs in Mind will present a theme for the work plus a detailed project proposal.  The project is very much about getting inpatients and staff involved in the process of designing new artworks and murals.  Workshops take place during April and May 2023 on the adult acute wards at Redwoods, supported by our regular artist Jean Mills. 

Amy Smith

Amy Smith in art workshop on wardsArts for Health has been able to create a new part-time post for our Shropshire sites, Arts for Health Project Assistant – and we were able to recruit last month. Amy Smith, who currently works at The Hive in Shrewsbury, will be taking up the role later this month. Amy is an artist in her own right, and has done a number of different jobs in her time – we are so looking forward to her starting and supporting the vital work we do….welcome Am



Other ward engagement projects

Artist Jamila Thomas on wardsCreative arts at Redwoods – sessions continue with artist Jean Mills on a regular basis on our adult wards and with Jamila Thomas on older adult bringing a variety of creativity to our inpatients….

Holly Ward Fence Project is now complete and Charlotte Tisdale, the artist has been busy adding some new aspects to the mural – to support inpatient ideas and suggestions.Holly Ward fence artwork with artist Charlotte Tisdale  She has added the St Chads building, the river Severn and the Line Trees that border the river path in Shrewsbury…..the ward manager has added some large planters to the garden which are now bedecked with beautiful flowers, improving the garden immensely.   

Jessica, Helen, Owen, Amy & Diana - the Arts for Health team - hope the Spring brings sunshine and all good things…..

Redwoods Celebration Event

Held on 19th August this year was a great success! A summer event that coincided with the anniversary of 10 years of the Redwoods Centre, we celebrated with a range of live music, arts activities, refreshments, ice cream and cake!! We had a good turnout of inpatients, staff and visitors and the weather was very kind to us! Thanks to Estates for all their help - much appreciated.

Live Music programme at St George’s and Redwoods

We have a really exciting range of music taking place across our mental health inpatient facilities. The music programme is well and truly embedded and includes a mix of instruments, vocals, duo’s, different styles, genres and locations.

Music in Hospitals in Care

Delivering on both sites, we also have a regular monthly concert. We are 6 months into this programme now and it is becoming more and more supported and valued. At Redwoods we are able to deliver in the Bistro where ward inpatients and service users from the community can join us. At the last event in October we had 45 people attend ….such a great feeling about the place when this happens. At St George’s we are mostly delivering on-ward, so that more inpatients can benefit.

This programme will continue into 2023 with our regular musicians: Dan Walsh and Bob Gessey and we hope to be able to offer additional musicians during the year.

Our latest concert with Dan Walsh was a storm with over 60 people attending from wards and community. A lively and fun event for all….
“better than ever!” “a fantastic player” “Dan is phenomenal!” “what a wonderful performance” “you can tell that Dan cares that his audience is having a good time”

St Chad’s celebration event

At St George’s on Wednesday 7th December, Arts for Health organised a number of musicians plus refreshments for inpatients there…with Steve Tams on keyboard, the Alton Handbells and Nick Corder on ukulele! A joy for the wards and staff included.

Colour & Crescendo

Arts for Health were invited to take part in an event at Lichfield Cathedral in October of this year. In collaboration with Derby Air Arts, we showcased musical and artistic creations by inpatients, staff and artists made during the pandemic. A mix of choral music and song, poetry plus our Colour & Crescendo musical compositions made a wonderful offer to the people who came to listen and watch in such a magnificent building. We are grateful to Air Arts and Lichfield Cathedral for inviting us to take part in this event.

We have also installed the original artworks created through this project into frames which are on exhibition in St Chad’s waiting area to brighten up the space and illustrate the beautiful artworks to those who may not have seen them.

World Mental Health Day event at Shrewsbury Abbey

Arts for Health were invited by Enable in Shropshire to be part of this event at the Abbey – to which we brought creative activity with artist Jamila Thomas and live music from local musician Dan Walsh…a huge number of local organisations supporting those in need attended and it was a great networking event….one of our Wellbeing Art Group members, Aaron McClachlan, helped out on the Arts for Health stand, plus Men Walking and Talking and Men’s Sheds…well done Aaron!

Creative activities on the wards…

Norbury ward, St Georges have been working with artist Mark Uttley to create a number of enhancements including a welcome board for the new entrance to Norbury plus some sculptural wooden reliefs in the garden – fantastic, imaginative work created with designs from inpatients which really improves the environment whilst offering meaningful engagement.


Clee unit at Redwoods is about to embark on an artists’ commission to celebrate 10 years of their unit. The project will involve inpatients, staff and two local artists (Liz Turner and Keith Ashford), who created a wonderful piece of work in 2012 when the building first opened…we are looking forward to seeing what emerges from this process…..


Holly older adult ward is looking to improve their garden spaces and local artist Charlotte Tisdale has created some ideas for a mural with the inpatients and staff and designed an image that she has painted on the fence. We hope this will bring some interest and colour to the garden whilst the ward develops planting alongside.


Milford Ward – artists Mark Uttley and Kate Slater started work on this ward in early December – engaging with inpatients to design some uplifting murals and colourful imagery for the walls, windows and garden area. It has recently had a refurbishment and we hope the involvement with the arts will bring some soul and much needed interest to the ward spaces.


Older adult wards at Redwoods – local artist Jamila Thomas is delivering a new series of creative sessions on these wards over the autumn. Her ideas have been really inventive and have engaged a number of the inpatients over the last few weeks using a range of ideas and equipment.

Baswich and Bromley wards – fabulous engagement on a Thursday morning for our older adults at St George’s with talented musician Sarah Eastwood, playing music and leading much loved singing in the Spirituality room...

Wellbeing Art Group

The group has been working on a number of projects over the autumn, some painting onto acetate with glass paints which have been very effective –to hang in windows and doors; and participants are currently working on small booklets – using printmaking techniques to create images on the internal pages and colour/intricate covers to the books.

Redwoods Exhibition space

Currently we have a very lovely show of watercolours painted by Paul Jackson – Paul was one of our wellbeing art group and also worked for the Recovery College. Paul sadly died earlier this year and is much missed by many people who knew him those that he came in contact with during this time. His artwork is exceptional and can be seen at Redwoods in our exhibition space there up until the New Year…..

Christmas offerings

We are providing some festive materials for our wards to use over Christmas along with some beautiful cut-out town scenes created by Mark Uttley – inpatients can use the materials to decorate the town scenes to place around the wards! And whilst doing this, people can listen to and enjoy our Winter Playlist we have compiled with songs and stories for the seasonal period! 

Thank you to all our AHP and ward staff who support our Arts for Health delivery – we are so grateful for your time and skills which benefit our inpatients throughout the year…cheers to you all!!!

Jessica, Helen, Owen and Diana, the arts for health team wish you all a very Merry Christmas with lots of festive love and cheer…stay safe and well…….. see you in 2023!

Colour & Crescendo

Our music and creative project that mostly took place last year has culminated in a short video illustrating the project and the outcomes. This can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkhE9xAs-bo

The video was created by Junction 15 studios in Stoke-on-Trent and we hope it will be a valuable insight into the work that took place……there is definitely food for thought here as regards a follow-up project maybe 2023/24. You can listen to the full recordings of the new compositions by visiting our website at: https://artsforhealth.mpft.nhs.uk/our-work/events

A Choral Forest – Lichfield Cathedral, Saturday October 8th 2022

Colour & Crescendo is also being highlighted at an event at Lichfield Cathedral on Saturday October 8th 2022….2pm-4pm. Our musicians Richard Taylor and Sarah Whittingham will be playing our newly composed music from Colour & Crescendo project in front of a large audience of people being brought together by Derby Air Arts. They have staged this project entitled Staff Voices - A Choral Forest, a combination of powerful music and song from the UHDB’s Wellbeing choir and the Cathedral choirs in a performance that celebrates the strength of the NHS. There will be an exhibition of sculptural trees made by artists E J Lance and Miles Halpin, inspired by the NHS.

Summer Celebration Redwoods!

We are holding a summer event at Redwoods on Friday 19th August at 2pm-5pm….there will be live music, refreshments, cake! arts activities, games and ice cream! It will be an opportunity for Arts for Health to showcase some of our wonderful musicians and artists who have helped us through the last few years and to have some fun and to thank our incredible clinical and general staff across the Trust who have worked so valiantly……please come and enjoy the festival atmosphere!

Live music

We have our regular visits by local musicians taking place still on our acute wards at Redwoods and St George’s and one to one sessions taking place on Ellesmere ward in St George’s which are proving really positive and helpful to key inpatients.

We are going to be developing the live music gradually back to what it was pre-pandemic where at Redwoods we would have more social, public sessions in the bistro. As a way of moving towards this, our collaboration with Music in Hospitals started in April with musicians Dan Walsh and Bob Gessey.

They are playing at our two mental health facilities at St George’s in Stafford and Redwoods in Shrewsbury on a monthly basis – bringing a huge range of styles, genre and well-known tunes to our people – some fabulous playing and singing….they are being received very well.

  • “Wonderful range of thoughtful songs by Bob Gessey”
  • “Thank you so much for playing for us – truly amazing!”
  • “great guitar and voice, wonderful repertoire and great interaction with the audience. Happy chap!”
  • “It was very good to hear songs I haven’t heard for a long time. Such a variety of songs too. I was singing along. You don’t realise there is such talent around”


Kinver Ward

At St George’s on our Kinver (Eating Disorder) ward, we have a very talented artist, Maggie Hollinshead delivering some creative mixed media sessions to people on the ward. Maggie has worked on this ward before and her style of approach and materials/techniques seem to work very well – a very gentle and considered approach.

Redwoods Exhibition space

We have been showing artwork by inpatients and local artists. In May and June we highlighted work by Arran McLachlan….he was very keen to exhibit his work to inspire others and he talked at the private view of his own struggles with mental health and how the arts and making art continues to help him along. We had a great turnout for his exhibition and he is going on to show his work at a local gallery in Shrewsbury! Where he hopes to sell his work to raise funds for Arts for Health and Mens Sheds – a project that he is passionate about – helping other men with their mental health and recovery.

Redwoods Exhibition

Currently showing at the Redwoods is an exhibition of photography by the guys from our Clee Forensic ward…they have been making some trips out, to walk the Shropshire hills and surrounding areas. On these walks they have taken the cameras from our Photobox kit in order to capture some of the beauty and interesting environment around them. Healthcare worker, Chris Bennett, has helped the guys enlarge some of their photos and mounted them up for exhibition, including a large panorama of the Shropshire hills taken from Lyth Hill near Shrewsbury. It’s definitely worth a visit to see this work!

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your help and suggestions in getting the walking group exhibit up and running. It looks fantastic and I have received lots of positive feedback already”

Coming up we have some colourful exhibitions planned by our Wellbeing Art Group plus a local artist and also some poetry from one of our inpatients….!

Website improvement

Owen, our new digital comms worker and Diana our team administrator have both been working hard on the website over the last few months to try to improve this, keep it up to date and interesting! Good progress being made and we hope it will be simpler and more effective for people to journey through.


Artist Mark Uttley has been working with patients on Norbury designing signage for the entrance to Norbury ward. Eight regular patients spent 15 sessions designing/ Mark then transposed their work onto wooden shapes, the 8ft length signage will be installed soon  

Mark has also been working with patients on Baswich and Bromley to replace signage. The spirituality and Pastoral room and create new signage Spirituality Centre

Arts for Health is consulting on an enhancement project at Redwoods to bring some colour and inspiration to the garden fences. Starting on Holly ward (older adult) where we hope to explore a nature and landscape theme. Artist/illustrator Charlotte Tisdale visited the ward to discuss with inpatients, their ideas and thoughts on what they would like to see…she will take these ideas and create a design to share with people on the ward to gather their responses before finalising the design.

We are creating a brief for this kind of work as we intend to continue with the fences on the adult wards too, over the next 6 months.

St Chad’s exhibition space, St George’s. We have been working with Estates to refurbish this waiting area where Arts for Health can have mini concerts and gatherings. We are preparing an exhibition of the Colour & Crescendo postcards to be displayed in this area within large frames. We hope to develop this space to be more of a changing exhibition space to show service user artwork along with the results of our project work.

The creative activity packs are still available providing resources and activities for those isolating in their bedrooms awaiting test results. As Covid cases rise and wards are closing again for a few days at a time, these might come in handy again to support all people on the wards. Please contact us if you would like more packs for the wards.


Artist Call Out

We are looking for freelance artists to work across a variety of our programmes, with the following skills:

A proven track record of delivering workshops and producing participatory artwork

Experience or an interest in delivering work on wards, or in healthcare settings

Experience of delivering workshops online

Experience of working with adults and young people with additional needs and/or adults with mental health difficulties or dementia

A passion for creative wellbeing

We would especially love to hear from people who are underrepresented in the arts sector.

Arts for Health Contact Details

Arts for Health - General Enquiries


Jessica Kent - Arts for Health Lead

Redwoods Centre, Somerby Drive,
Shrewsbury SY3 8DS

01743 210048 / 07814 752783

Helen Wilson - Project Worker

St. George's Hospital, Corporation Street, Stafford ST16 3AG

Helen.wilson@mpft.nhs.uk                  07964208542 / 01785221328

Owen Hurcombe - Digital & Communications Project Worker

St, George's Hospital, Corporation Street,
Stafford ST16 3AG


Diana Buckle - Administrator

Redwoods Centre, Somerby Drive,
Shrewsbury SY3 8DS


Amy Smith - Arts for Health Project Assistant

Redwoods Centre, Somerby Drive, Shrewsbury, SY3 8DS