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Artswork Supporting Young Minds: impact evaluation from University of Sussex

Date Created: 7th Dec 2023

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We are excited to share the University of Sussex’s insightful evaluation report on Artswork Supporting Young Minds, a key initiative of our Bridge programme.

‘Actually it has had an impact on myself in my wellbeing. Doing this is something to look forward to every week. From my perspective, it’s that positive effect right there.’ Young participant in Artswork Supporting Young Minds

In 2021-23, through Artswork’s Supporting Young Minds investment programme, five linked projects across South East England worked to model best practice in the use of creativity to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Artswork Supporting Young Minds included arts-based programmes in East Kent, West Sussex, the Isle of Wight, Oxford, and Reading. Within each of these localities, multiple projects covered diverse creative approaches and interventions aimed at young people with a wide range of characteristics and needs. This important work was supported by Arts Council England (ACE) in our role as Bridge organisation for the South East.

To ensure a systematic and robust assessment of the work, we commissioned an expert team from the University of Sussex to evaluate it and to provide a report. The University developed an approach with three overarching aims:

  1. To assess the impacts of the programmes as a whole on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
  2. To identify the key psychological mechanisms of any such impacts.
  3. To establish the facilitators of – and obstacles to – positive effects. These were expected to include features of the creative arts environments and/or practical details in the delivery of the projects.

The result is a rich and detailed resource that provides positive evidence of impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing through engagement in creative sessions. The report also offers valuable recommendations for consideration by commissioners, by those leading or practising projects in the arts, and by those working in relevant areas of children’s services.

Read the full report to explore the impact and learning from Artswork Supporting Young Minds.

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