Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea Marks a Year of Collaboration with CW+

After a remarkable year, The Worshipful The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Will Pascall left his post on 20 May 2020. As the Mayor’s chosen charity for his term, we will continue the important arts in health project he helped to establish nearly a year ago.  Following the changes brought about by COVID-19, our Community Bridge programme will be of vital importance for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the Borough’s community, initially among its older residents.

The Community Bridge programme goes beyond patients’ experience inside hospital: it accompanies patients from their admission to hospital right through to their discharge, and then to their return to life in the community, helping and encouraging them to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Cllr Will Pascall was instrumental in establishing the programme, which aims to reach out and involve the community while in and out of hospital.

To house the programme, we created the CW+ Studio, a multifunctional space at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which will act as the programme’s base, and which will host a myriad of health and wellbeing activities for participants. The CW+ Studio is the first dedicated space of its kind in a UK acute hospital, offering this unique programme to patients and the community.

During the current COVID-19 outbreak, the CW+ Studio is currently being used as a health and wellbeing hub for hospital staff, but will later be developed further to host the Community Bridge programme and its original purpose, once the crisis subsides and the lockdown is raised.

The aim of the Community Bridge programme is to support residents in the community after discharge from hospital to help them resume a normal life within their community.  By offering varied cultural, artistic and social activities in the CW+ Studio, we hope to encourage social interaction, promote healthy ageing, improve health and wellbeing, help people live independently and generally improve their quality of life.

“This programme enables us to target cross-borough health priorities by bringing together the various services: acute care, community services, social services and primary care,” said the Mayor. “We believe the programme will help tackle important social and health needs among our communities, and help reduce emergency re-admissions, address problems caused by inactivity and reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation. These problems may well be exacerbated after the lockdown and the current phase of COVID-19, which has been terrifying for many people. The local people we’re supporting may include those with dementia, heart and respiratory disease and general frailty.”

The Community Bridge programme is expected to reach more than 24,000 local residents, consisting of inpatients and outpatients, and over 7,000 carers, by offering more than 1,100 activities over a three-year period.

“We are very grateful for Cllr Will Pascall’s invaluable contribution during this past year, and will be sorry to see him leave his role as Mayor,” said CW+ CEO Chris Chaney. “When he was appointed in May 2019, and chose CW+ as his charity for his year in office, no one could predict COVID-19 or how all our lives would be changed so dramatically, and with it the new reality within our hospitals and their associated projects.

“The Community Bridge programme aims to continue where we left off before the pandemic outbreak, and now more than ever, its activities will be vital to help combat old problems and new ones that may surface as a result of the virus, and its health and social repercussions.”