Narratives of Personal Renewal

The Fathom Trust

The Fathom Trust was invited to partner with Aberystwyth University’s Centre for Creativity and Wellbeing to create a new hub of six creative practitioners in West Wales and to deliver skills training and employment opportunities for local writers and makers.

Through a partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board, NHS staff were offered new ways of exploring paths to recovery, resilience, and regeneration. Three days of movement, crafting and creative writing activities took place in March 2023 at Rhosygilwen in Pembrokeshire, The National Botanic Garden’s Pantwgan Farm in Carmarthenshire and Strata Florida in Ceredigion – one for each county in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area.

When asked “To what extent would you agree that following the session you are more likely to introduce more creative practice into your day-to-day life?” the results were as follows:

Participants were drawn from a number of roles and departments:

  • Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Officer
  • Lilie Administrator
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Immunisation Nurse Facilitator
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapy Technician
  • Clinical Coding Clerk
  • Paediatric Dietitian
  • Research and Development Officer
  • Hospital Services Manager
  • Heart Failure Nurse Specialist

“Your team were wonderful, kind and generous with their skills and encouragement, creating an atmosphere of compassion and support from the beginning. As a battle-hardened […] consultant, I must confess to a certain feeling of trepidation that the day would be a bit ‘wishy-washy’, or place the usual emphasis on ‘resilience’ and so on….not a bit of it. The whole approach smashed my preconceptions about what true healing could feel like, and broke open a shell of unhelpful resignation I have harboured way too long. The subtle but immensely effective blending of physical movement, creative playfulness and tactile discovery, and deep reflection via words and poetry worked brilliantly. The magical planning that had shaped the day was invisible to me until the end – and by then, the spell had been cast and change made possible. Please, if you can get the resources, time and funding – replicate and build on these events. I am convinced that there are loads more people in the NHS that would enjoy and benefit from such careful guidance and protection. I personally feel a bit bereft to have had such a fleeting glimpse of what should be regular.”

Consultant in Emergency Medicine