Voluntary Arts has been partnering with Thrive LDN – the citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners – to produce and deliver three culture focused interventions to support an Up for Arts ‘themed year’ on creative wellbeing and mental health, produced in alliance with BBC Radio London.

One particular project was a podcast series where a group of young people were able to co-produce a series of podcasts with media professionals from the BBC. The Act On podcast series explores the challenges young people in London face and what young Londoners can do to overcome them. Presented by BBC Radio 1 presenter, Katie Thistleton, the series explores:

  • The impact of social media and online forums on young people’s mental health and wellbeing
  • The power of music to inspire, to bring us together and make a positive impact
  • The challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community and the fact that the prevalence of problems is often much higher in communities facing most inequalities
  • A discussion around the fact that over 2 million Londoners don’t access any form of cultural activity in the city despite London being one of the most culturally rich cities on the planet
  • The impact of sport and movement on mental health and wellbeing
  • Young men and suicide – with a focus on mental health stigma and discrimination

This initiative supports the thinking behind BBC partnership projects such as Up For Arts and the Get Creative Festival, both of which aim to encourage people to be more creatively engaged in their local community. Barriers to access in taking part in creative activities need to be addressed, as it is groups in less privileged socio-economic groups who tend to be exposed to health inequalities.

Commenting on the podcast series, Robin Simpson, Chief Executive, Voluntary Arts, said:

The Act On Podcast series makes an important and timely contribution to the debate on the health benefits that come from taking part in creativity. Everyday participation in creativity develops learning, improves health and contributes to the enrichment of lives. Voluntary Arts works to celebrate, encourage and champion people expressing themselves creatively in their everyday lives and practising their creativity socially with other people. We are proud to be working with Thrive LDN and the BBC to raise awareness of the health benefits of taking part in creative activity and to encourage more people to engage actively in creativity as part of their everyday lives.

The series will be available from Thursday 23 January on www.thriveldn.co.uk.


Notes to editors:
Voluntary Arts supports, celebrates and promotes creative cultural activity. It works across the UK and Republic of Ireland to help create an environment where participation in everyday creativity can flourish.

Thrive LDN is a citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners. It is supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board partners.

Nick Ewbank Associates is an innovative consultancy firm delivering creative solutions in the fields of culture, learning, regeneration, wellbeing and social cohesion.

For more info and/or any interview requests, please contact [email protected]