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Hampshire Cultural Trust: Brighter Futures

Hampshire Cultural Trust works closely with partners such as the Hampshire’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Southern Health, North East Hants Recovery College and Combat Stress to provide creative engagement opportunities to support participants to grow their confidence, develop their emotional resilience and to increase their socialisation.

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Brighter Futures is one of the programmes which provides support for adults with mental health needs to access cultural engagement opportunities across Hampshire. The programme is funded by Hampshire County Council’s Adult Community Learning programme and is delivered in partnership with local health and community providers. Participants can be referred onto the programme by social prescribers, wellbeing centres and recovery college and participants are also able to self-refer.

Brighter Futures offers participants opportunities to take part in courses exploring arts and crafts subjects which support their health and wellbeing. Courses include Poetry for Wellbeing, Needle Felting, Art Journaling and Lino Cutting. Between 2018 and March 2022 the programme reached 630 participants through 87 courses. 

In April 2020 the programme was taken online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in September 2021 it moved to a blended delivery approach as it was possible to move back to face-to-face delivery. The programme will continue to run in 2022 and beyond.

As part of the Brighter Futures programme Hampshire Cultural Trust have been running a poetry for wellbeing course in partnership with the South Downs National Park.  A film about the Brighter Futures programme has been produced. The programme has had a positive impact on participants with many reporting increased confidence, overcoming anxiety and greater self-awareness after taking part.

I have gained a new confidence in my abilities and an increased empathy towards others. When in lockdown, it's hard to appreciate that everyone around you is going through the same mental health struggles. I grew a greater sense of understanding of my own mental health issues as well as empathising with others." - Participant, Brighter Futures

This course got me through a very difficult time, providing the help and encouragement I needed, reconnecting me to my passion for poetry, and has inspired me to continue doing the things that I love. Having the confidence in being able to write my thoughts and feelings down in the form of poetry, gives me an immense sense of relief and has had, and will continue to have, a positive impact on my mental health and wellbeing." - Participant, Brighter Futures