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Raising spirits at the hospital

Posted Date: 02/10/2011

The Sunday Times - 2 October 2011


"Raising Spirits aims at promoting an environment for creative and artistic volunteering within healthcare"

A group of creative and artistic volunteers to enliven the atmosphere at hospital is being set up.

To promote this, a half-day seminar was recently held at Mater Dei Hospital to incentivise various stakeholders on a national level to explore ways and means of developing and increasing volunteering in healthcare, particularly through an artistic and creative approach in order to enhance patient recovery and community wellbeing.

This seminar, which took the form of a roundtable discussion, was part of the Raising Spirits project which is part of the European Year of Volunteering 2011.

Project partners include SOS Malta, Mater Dei Hospital, Voices Foundation, Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and the Malta Cancer Foundation.

Raising Spirits aims at promoting, enabling and facilitating an environment for creative and artistic volunteering within healthcare, aimed at improved patient recovery and community wellbeing.

Stakeholders were introduced to the idea of creative and artistic volunteering in hospitals and the benefits it can bring along.

The event was characterised by an exchange and sharing of good practices brought in from other EU member states (particularly the UK).

These were also based on presentations given on some of the key findings and practices described within a Compendium of Good Practices compiledby project partners prior to this seminar.

Guest speakers included Diana Greenman, chief executive of Music in Hospitals, UK, and Jayne Howard, director, Arts for Health, Cornwall.

Participants included officials from the health and arts sectors alike as well as representatives from health NGOs, artists and representatives from private hospitals.

A group of eight volunteers from backgrounds including drama, social work, music and engineering, received 18 hours of interactive training focused on organising arts in health initiatives.

This group has formed a committee and will concentrate on raising awareness to the benefits of arts events in hospitals and other care settings and pave the way for the sustainability of such actions.

Two performances will be organised at Mater Dei Hospital by this committee before the end of the year and a three-year action plan for the introduction of regular arts in health initiatives will be drafted at the start of the new year.

For further information, call Nicola Critien, project manager, SOS on 7904 0506.


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