Green Health and Tonic Arts Joint Networking Event

May 22, 2024

Blog: Cultivating Wellbeing Together

Tagged by

Share this

Ian Mackenzie, NHS Lothian Charity, Green Health Programme Manager, shares his reflections and takeaways from the recent Tonic Arts and Green Health Network Event.

It was great to see The Broch at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital buzzing with a different kind of energy on the 14th of May. Instead of the usual patient care activities, the space was filled with members of our staff networks focusing on how, together, we can use arts and nature to support the wellbeing of patients, staff and communities. Our “Working Together to Improve Health & Wellbeing in NHS Lothian” event brought together staff, partners, and community members, passionate about creating a healthier environment for everyone.

The star of the show for me? Network Members.

I was really struck by the diversity and depth of the network members’ experience. Attendees shared their experience of delivering activities and projects that make the most of the link between creativity and spending time in nature with positive mental and physical health outcomes. The message was clear: from reduced stress and blood pressure to improved mood and staff morale, incorporating arts and greenspace into healthcare settings has a profound impact.

The event went beyond theory and showcased the range of ways we can deliver this in healthcare settings. NHS Lothian Charity showcased its commitment to this concept through existing programmes and partnerships. Attendees shared their experiences of developing hospital courtyards, therapeutic design and participatory arts activity. These projects encourage staff and patients to embrace the arts and outdoors, fostering a connection with creativity and nature in their healing journey.

The true strength of the event was its collaborative spirit. Workshops provided a platform for attendees to share their experiences and brainstorm ideas. Discussions ranged from creative engagement with art using the Tonic Arts collection as an example to exploring how we use our connection to nature in our own personal and professional development. The resounding message from the day? When we work together, we can maximise the impact of our work.

Green Health and Tonic Arts Joint Networking Event
Green Health and Tonic Arts Joint Networking Event

Key Takeaways:

  • Art and nature are powerful tools for promoting positive mental and physical health.
  • There is an experienced network of people implementing innovative greenspace and arts projects in Lothian
  • Collaboration is key to unlocking the full potential of wellbeing initiatives in healthcare settings.

Want to Get Involved?

This event wasn’t just about learning, it was about taking action. If you would like to get involved in future events and activities, and connect with others who are passionate about this work, sign up to our networks.

Join our Tonic Arts Network

Through our Tonic Arts Network, staff can engage with, and contribute to, the creative enhancements and activities at their NHS Lothian site.
We also offer invitations to artist talks, exhibitions, and cultural events and training throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians to thank staff for their valued contribution to the programme.

Patient artwork created during a workshop with artist Natasha Russell

Join our Green Health Network

If you feel passionately about the benefits of nature and their potential in addressing health inequalities, join our Green Health Network. All you need are a few good ideas, a little time to spare and a willingness to be involved with promoting and supporting green health activities across NHS Lothian.

two women sat talking outside

By working together, we can cultivate a culture of wellbeing within NHS Lothian, ensuring a greener and healthier environment for all.

Scroll through images from the day