Arts for All: Virtual Connections

Arts for All: Virtual Connections is a new digital arts programme designed to support the health and wellbeing of patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, as well as staff and those isolating in the wider community.

For more than 20 years, we have provided inclusive, diverse and co-designed arts in health interventions to support the health and wellbeing needs of our hospital community. Our existing Arts for All programme provides meaningful cultural opportunities, which offer distraction, entertainment and social interaction to improve patient experience across the Trust.

Over the past few weeks, CWFT has been at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the main receiving hospital Trusts in London for COVID patients. We have had to reimagine our Arts for All programme to respond to lockdown measures and social distancing protocols that are currently keeping artists and visitors away from the hospitals.

Created in response to this crisis, the new programme allows artists who would normally engage with patients in a hospital setting, to do so virtually. Virtual Connections is curated to engage, entertain and connect and to reflect the voices of patients, staff and artists at this difficult time – encompassing all aspects of the creative arts (drawing, colouring etc) as well as music, singing, mindfulness and creative movement.

The programme is a mix of newly commissioned work from nine freelance artists producing up to 45 hours of initial content, and then adding new content weekly. These new online workshops and performances will stay true to the model we have developed over the years as a leader in the Arts in Health field, and our artists and partners will continue to perform and share, inform and entertain at this uncertain time.

A screenshot of a workshop from artist Charlotte Cranidge, click to explore more

The Virtual Connections programme is accessible via the CW+ website on desktop, mobile phone or tablet. We have partnered with Hospedia to host the virtual programme free of charge on the patient bedside screens across the Trust. Trust volunteers will also be encouraged to access the content through tablets when they are engaging with patients at the bedside.

Arts for All: Virtual Connections is a three-month pilot until July 2020. Click here to explore the range of content available.