Looking ahead to 2024 with the Arts Council in Wales

The Fathom Trust

With funding from the Arts Council, we will work on implementing our plan of coordinated Making Well Communities covering the 4 main Primary Care services across South Powys, i.e. Brecon, Ystradgynlais, Crickhowell, and Hay & Talgarth. Each implementation of Making Well will be sensitively adapted to the needs of the community, its people and its landscape, and integrated with the local GP practice through our partner Red Kite Health Ltd.

We will use our experience to help each community to connect and care for each other, their natural habitats and assets. Each venue will run 3 Making Well courses per year, accessed by GP social prescribing, self-referral, and also signposting through links with local charities, such as Brecon Mind. Social prescribing offers a non-discriminatory, equitable route to accessing wellbeing programmes, crucially based on local, deep-rooted knowledge of communities, people and assets.

Each Making Well course will be co-developed with the primary care partner for optimal alignment with demand for suitably adapted projects, facilitated by our network of freelance artists, and led by an experienced therapeutic practitioner, supported by volunteers for each session. In addition to offering opportunities for patients to therapeutically engage in green arts and crafts, our model of care has the added dimension of encouraging and nurturing connectedness with nature and landscape.

I noticed what a centreing and comforting activity seed sowing and watering the compost can be. The bird chorus coming from the nearby woods felt like a concert hall, I got really drawn in.

We will support and encourage participants to learn about and join in with nature recovery, conservation and developmental projects in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. The benefits people receive from nature depend on their ability to gain access and sustainably connect with the land and its natural assets. For this to be both sustainable and therapeutically beneficial, we are fortunate to have the support of 2 major nature conservation partners, Black Mountains College and the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, whose expertise will help us to develop complimentary projects which enable opportunities for Making Well participants to form bridges between creative arts and nature conservation.

They offer training and advice in landscape and conservation, as well as educational opportunities to develop skills which enhance their sense of connecting with local landscapes in ways which encourage and diversify participation. This also enables participants to embark on an educational journey towards understanding the purpose and value of our connectedness to nature and how this is best understood if nature is the setting for their learning, discovering that outdoor studies correlate with enhanced outcomes in wellbeing, concentration, behaviour, memory, and confidence.