Angela Conlan and Paula Har Creating With Care xx

Top award for hospital arts project

An innovative hospital arts programme, which grew out of an initiative begun in West Oxfordshire, has won a national award.

Creating With Care, which was started by West Oxfordshire District Council four years ago, claimed the Innovation and Best Practice Improving Patient Care category at the Community Hospitals Association’s (CHA) Innovations and Best Practice Awards.

The scheme was set up by Arts Co-ordinator Angela Conlan and dementia nurse Paula Har after Angela originally came in as an artist in residence at Witney Community Hospital.

Sessions on photography, art, mosaics, dance, music, vintage cabaret, drama, poetry, and even a bit of Shakespeare have followed for patients with dementia and a range of enduring and complex conditions. Evidence shows how being creative can help people’s wellbeing and their recovery from illness.

Even lockdown has not hindered progress with patients being given activity packs and enjoying online performances by musicians.

Angela said: “We talk to people a lot and if they say they are bored then we can find them a book or give them art materials. We also have an iPad so they can get in touch with relatives.

“It has been a huge honour to be recognised in this way and I feel really grateful to have a job I love at this difficult time.”

Creating With Care has been rolled out across all six of Oxford Health’s community hospitals, supported by the Oxford Health Charity.

It has had a total of 4,350 patient attendances and 1,666 staff attendances at its sessions over the last four years while a total of £39,784 has been raised for projects.   

At the awards, the judges said: “This work is an example of innovation and creativity at its best. You should all be so proud of developing and delivering this work … such passion, joy and intelligence – absolutely inspirational.”

Cllr Suzi Coul, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Health, said: “This is a wonderful initiative which sprang from an idea at the Council and has proven its benefits across the county and beyond.

“To receive such national recognition is testament to its success and the passion and commitment of the team behind it.”

Contact Information

West Oxfordshire District Council Communications Team