In order to achieve our mission of “growing individual and collective wellbeing and resilience in Shropshire through the creative arts” I started to gather a tribe of participants,

funders, artists and helpers and we began to explore arts other than music for example poetry, dance and arts and crafts. 

Our aim was to identify groups of people with specific need and to design, resource and deliver high quality participatory events tailored to their needs for example in care homes, hospitals, our hospice, schools, and community centres or groups.

Icaris Duo, Live Music Now at Uplands at Oxon Nursing Home, Shrewsbury

Core to our progress was evolving our plans for not just gathering feedback but working out how to evaluation what we do so we can be sure we are meeting the needs of our participants and to convince potential funders of the value of our approach.

So much is already underway across the country with respect to arts for health projects but we were trying to work out how to make our approach have increasing reach, impact and sustainability – no mean feat!

January 2015 I was puzzling over how to take things forward when I really felt very out of depth as a GP trying to take our venture forward when over a Christmas meal, Louise Pode who was growing her social business Proability, encouraged me to apply to the School of Social Entrepreneurs. She was on their Start Up Programme and suggested this might help me in the next steps of my journey.

I applied and was both challenged and encouraged by the tough application process which included a bid document, interview and dragon’s den style pitch and was thrilled to hear I had been accepted on the 2015-16 West Midlands programme.