We are working with a growing range of commissioners and communities in Torbay to help residents lead healthier, happier lives. We are testing new ways of building artistic practices into the day-to-day work of other sectors, including the health sector, to help them meet their own objectives and to embed creativity into the lives of those who could benefit the most.

Our work began with the support of the Cultural Commissioning Locality Project. In a new phase of the development of creative commissioning for Torbay through the Great Place Scheme, we worked with health sector partners to identify a number of new pilot projects, designed to improve participants' physical and mental health and wellbeing.

We delivered:

  • ‘Singing for Wellness’ choirs for people living with COPD

  • ‘Best Foot Forward’ dance programme for mobility and falls prevention

  • Mental health and well-being projects for children and young people

  • Mental health and well-being projects for older people.

Our projects are designed not only to test new initiatives for Torbay’s residents but also to support and grow partnerships.


A key aim of Torbay’s cultural strategy is to harness the health and well-being benefits of culture. A growing amount of academic research proves the positive clinical and social outcomes culture can provide within both health and care pathways. Torbay has pioneer status for integrated health and social care, an active Healthwatch, a Community Development Trust committed to cultural activity and a network of experienced local arts and health practitioners (Torbay Culture and Arts Network). This is a strong base from which to develop a strategic approach to culture, health and wellbeing here. We are keen to work with our partners to explore this, particularly around the prevention and self-care agenda.


The aims of these pilot projects were to:

  • Improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of programme participants including reducing feelings of isolation

  • Identify new, cost-effective routes for health sector partners to deliver the New Model of Care through arts, culture and heritage, to support them to commission creative practitioners effectively

  • Develop commission-ready creative practitioners who have opportunities to deliver their work in the health sector.

We have created short films about the Singing for Wellness and Best Foot Forward projects which you can watch here:


Oversight of this programme was provided by the Joint Prevention Board. Key delivery partners were Torbay Culture and Arts Network (TCAN), Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Torbay and South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Public Health Torbay. The artists leading the projects were:

‘Best Foot Forward’ Dance for Mobility and Falls Prevention - Dance in Devon

Singing for Wellness - Wren Music, Hugh Nankivell

Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing for Children and Young People - Daisi, Doorstep Arts, Participate Arts, Sound Communities, Wren Music

Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing for Older People - Promenade Promotions, Sound Communities

The project is funded by Arts Council England, the Health Foundation and Torbay Medical Research Fund, and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of Torbay's Great Place Scheme.

If you would like to know more about our work in this area, including exploring any possible new projects, please email


This project ran from April 2017 to spring 2018, moving into evaluation from summer 2018. Late 2018, Cat Radford was contracted to continue the strategic development of creative commissioning here, working with us and with Torbay Culture & Arts Network.

“Emotional health and well-being are more about place than about services. The role that Torbay Culture plays in building communities, treating opportunities and addressing a sense of belonging is so important. We will continue to work with Torbay Culture to build community resourcefulness as well as delivering the focused work we are already doing, including to promote respiratory (lung) health and prevent falls through singing and dance. We look forward to seeing the evaluation of these specific projects so we can include this learning into future commissioning.”

– Dr Caroline Dimond, Director of Public Health Torbay