Nine Organisations Awarded Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2022

Nine York-based charities, social enterprises, community groups and individuals have been awarded grant funding by Make It York and City of York Council, made available via the Better Care Fund. The Cultural Wellbeing grant funding will support a range of initiatives for York residents, which are designed to support mental wellbeing and reduce loneliness and isolation.  

A total of £30,000 was made available for organisations to help isolated people engage in their communities, combat mental ill-health, improve physical health, enable participation in culture and creativity, or access to employment and learning opportunities. Organisations were invited to apply to grants up to £5,000 to aid initiatives throughout the city, which will be taking place from summer 2022 through to March 2023.  

The projects that will be funded through the Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2022 are:  

  • Singing for all with Jessa‘Singing For All York’ – reducing loneliness and isolation by providing inclusive and informal singing sessions for those living with dementia or other physical/mental health conditions, carers, and those in good health.  
  • New Visuality‘Intergenerational Art: Memories and Hope’ – encouraging the sharing of memories, stories, and anecdotes by elderly people to make them feel more part of their community and more connected with younger people, which will then form various art projects throughout the city 
  • Next Door But One‘A Rehearsal for Life’ – providing young adults with multiple and complex disabilities a safe space to explore feelings of fear, anxiety and safety about real-life experiences through theatre, to help them develop personal resilience and social skills for when these scenarios arise 
  • Thunk-It Theatre‘Enchanted’ – enticing members of the local community to enjoy creative green spaces in our city to reduce isolation and loneliness using craft-making and storytelling 
  • Pilot Theatre‘Creative Connections with Sanctuary-Seekers’ – creating a series of arts, crafts, and dance sessions to welcome sanctuary-seekers into York and provide them a safe space to socialise, including Ukrainian refugees in York 
  • Converge‘An Exhibition of Sanctuary: from the hospital to the city’ – creating works of art with patients at Foss Park Mental Health Hospital to explore ideas of sanctuary in a stressful, busy world which will later form an exhibition in the city  
  • National Centre for Early Music‘Baroque around the Books’ – a tour of musical performances around York Explore community libraries to encourage creative conversations and share musical experiences with members of the community  
  • Bolshee‘Bolshee Women’ – an exploration of contemporary autobiographical performance techniques which will result in a co-created performance that aims to combat social isolation of women over the age of 25 
  • ‘The Artery for Health’ led by heritage and cultural learning consultant Karen Merrifield – establishing a programme to understand how artists and cultural organisations can provide solace, support and comfort for patients and healthcare professionals through art therapy and art interventions. 

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, says: “This year’s Cultural Wellbeing Grants projects reflect the immense breadth and diversity of cultural initiatives taking place in the city to support people’s mental wellbeing, and to reduce isolation. They range from creative activity sessions for sanctuary-seekers in York, to an art exhibition by patients at Foss Park Mental Health Hospital, through to a programme of performance techniques to combat social isolation in women over 25. 

“The Cultural Wellbeing Grants are a really important scheme to support residents’ wellbeing, which is at the heart of the York Culture Strategy. It’s a privilege to be able to support these vital initiatives from Make It York.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, says: “The Cultural Wellbeing Grants are a really vital scheme, building on our work in tackling isolation and supporting mental health across the city. This is particularly important in the aftermath of the pandemic. Thank you to all those organisations who submitted so many excellent bids, it’s great once again to see how many creative institutions there are across York.   

“The successful projects, from singing lessons to intergenerational art, will all deliver crucial support in bolstering residents’ health and wellbeing. I look forward to seeing these projects deliver a real difference across York’s communities.” 


For more information: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer, Communications Team at Make It York 

Notes to Editors: 

Further information for the Cultural Wellbeing grants can be found here:  

If you have any queries or need support with the grant processes, please email:  

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.  

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Culture Strategy 

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