Arts on Prescription: How do we help combat loneliness? According to Loneliness Research, almost a fifth of the UK’s population feels lonely but are uncomfortable admitting it. To combat loneliness and social isolation caused by various reasons, the NHS has been working towards being able to provide personalised care to individuals. As part of this scheme, ‘social prescribing’ has been used as a holistic approach that doesn’t require medication. The scheme offers bespoke support to tackle negative experiences of individuals’ lives by encouraging them to develop ties with community-based organisations. Parallel Lines: Drawing and Sculpture exhibition © The Lightbox Social prescribing reduces demand for health professionals whilst improving the quality of patients’ lives, also helping to ease feelings associated with depression. Across England, individuals are referred to connect with community groups that provide activities and social opportunities that can improve their overall wellbeing. This process is based on person-specific conversations, in order to make sure that those in need are engaging with appropriate activities that link to their genuine interests, or address specific issues. By doing so, individuals are able to take greater control of their own health, improve their self-confidence and expand on their interpersonal skills. At The Lightbox, we have always believed that art has the power to make you feel good and we strive to ensure that this philosophy is at the heart of everything we do. Our diverse cultural programme includes exhibitions featuring world-renowned artists, local heritage displays, talks and tours, social events and arts and crafts workshops for all ages. Learn to Paint Abstract Art workshop © The Lightbox Our galleries offer a much needed space where you can reset after work, have a wander around and enjoy a relaxing experience. Better yet, research shows that engaging in cultural activities can positively impact one’s happiness. Repeat visitors seem to gain a greater sense of satisfaction in their lives than those who have never visited a gallery or museum, because their immersion in such a creative environment helps them take a break – or a step back – from their day-to-day routines. Equally, our Art and Wellbeing programme provides an opportunity to take part in creative workshops for those that would otherwise not be able to access arts and heritage services. The programme includes free family drop-ins, Art in Mind workshops for those living with dementia and their carers, creative sessions for adults affected by mental health issues and art outreach in local hospices and care homes. Participants during one of our community workshops © The Lightbox We’re always mindful of the fact that everyone is different and we try to respond as best we can to the needs of our visitors. That’s why, in addition to our focus on providing equal access to our services, we welcome all that want to be more actively involved in our ever-growing community. There is an ongoing opportunity to join our fantastic team of volunteers by fulfilling a wide range of roles including greeting our visitors, supervising exhibitions and lending a hand at special events. Likewise, if you’re interested in giving back to the community in other ways, you can find out more about how you can support us here.