Conference Promotes Health & Social Benefits of Cultural Activities

READING, Place of Culture is hosting a conference this November, with the aim of promoting the health and social benefits of cultural activities.

The Cultural Commissioning Symposium will take place on Thursday 29th November at Reading Town Hall, between 9.30am-1 pm. The conference aims to bring together people who commission public services; including policy makers, health and social care professionals and in those in the voluntary and community sector (particularly those who work with disadvantaged residents), with people working in arts, culture and heritage. The event will build a picture on how commissioners and cultural practitioners are working together to effect change and share how local research is shaping our understanding of Reading’s needs and priorities including: · Health (from falls prevention to stroke rehabilitation to long term conditions); · Mental health and wellbeing (from hospital wards to adolescent mental health units to care homes); · Work experience and skills development (particularly for vulnerable or disadvantaged young people); · Reducing reoffending. The event offers those attending a chance to discuss best practice at both national and local levels, to be inspired and to network. It will showcase innovative projects taking place around the county and in Reading.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading Council’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:

“Research has shown that engaging in arts and cultural activities has a wide reaching beneficial impact on people’s health and wellbeing; improving recovery from illness, promoting community spirit, combatting loneliness and relieving the pressure on GP services. “This event is a great opportunity to encourage arts groups to work collaboratively with voluntary and community sectors and public services to meet local people’s needs. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in this area to register for a free place. “I’d also like to extend our thanks to the generous support from National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England, which has enabled this project and this conference to take place.” Key speakers and projects explored will include: Dr Marion Lynch, Deputy Medical Director, NHS England South; Tim Joss, Aesop’s Chief Executive & Founder talking about Dance to Health an innovative falls prevention dance programme and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s RPO Resound: Improved health & wellbeing through group-based music-making. For more information and to register a free place: Reading, Place of Culture is supported by the Great Place Scheme, which is funded thanks to National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England. This is the launch of a pilot year for the scheme which will be further developed during a three year period, running to 2020.



About Reading, Place of Culture:

Reading Borough Council, in partnership with Reading UK CIC and Reading University, has been funded by the national Great Place Scheme for 3 years to deliver Reading, Place of Culture. This will enable arts, culture and heritage organisations to make a step-change in how they work with organisations in other sectors, in order to collaboratively contribute to meeting local social and economic objectives. The Council is funding cross-sector partnership projects that will use arts, culture and heritage to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of Reading communities and to boost economic success. The Cultural Commissioning Outreach Programme funds three £15,000 commissions per year to deliver on key social outcomes. It currently part way through its pilot year. These commissions are a chance for cultural organisations to work in partnership with public services and the voluntary and community sector. There is a strong focus on articulating values and evidencing outcomes in ways that can lead to stronger and more sustainable early interventions. For more information on the Great Place Scheme visit:

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. Find out more at

About Historic England

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. Find out more at