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rts on Prescription provides art courses for people who are finding life tough – people who are isolated, stressed, lacking confidence in themselves or suffering from anxiety or depression. It offers a range of courses with professional artists including glass-making, creative writing and storytelling, traditional painting, classical drawing techniques, crafts, journalling and scrap-booking, cookery, textiles, jewellery and sculpture. The project is run by Pendle Leisure Trust and has been funded by Target Wellbeing, Lancashire Adult Learning, Lancashire County Council, Pendle Borough Council, Burnley Borough Council and Ribble Valley Borough Council. It has been running since April 2008 and has worked with over 750 individuals across Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley. Arts on Prescription uses the Warwick-Edinburgh scale of mental wellbeing as a measure of how people feel both at the beginning of the course and at the end (whereby a higher score


hen it comes to managing weight and improving health, it really doesn’t get any more

straightforward. No faddy food matching or celeb-endorsed calorie-counting – just common sense advice and the right support to help you get up, get active and get more out of life. This simple ethos has worked for people in Wigan Borough for over four years as part of WLCT’s ‘Lose Weight, Feel Great’ initiative. The leisure trust teamed up with the borough’s health services (NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan) and Slimming World to pilot the scheme in 2008. Jane Hynes, who leads on weight management for the trust’s Active Living Team, explains: “More than 60 per cent of people in our borough are heavier than they

ORGANISATION Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust (WLCT)

PROJECT Lose Weight, Feel Great

should be, so there was a real need for a programme that addressed healthy eating and physical activity.” ‘Lose Weight, Feel Great’ typically targets those with a BMI of over 25, but is shaped around individual preferences. Hynes explains: “We know that losing weight and improving your fitness is a very personal thing – one size does not fit all – so our scheme offers a bespoke

More than 60 per cent of people in our borough are heavier than they should be, so there was a real need for a programme that addressed healthy eating and physical activity

68 Read Health Club Management online at

service tailored to the needs of the individual. At its core are some very basic concepts: healthy eating, physical activity and motivational support.”

The partnership between WLCT and Slimming World is one option: a 12- week programme with further support for up to 12 months. WLCT creates a personalised exercise programme, Slimming World delivers a healthy eating schedule, and support comes from a specialist activity instructor and Slimming World consultant – and fellow slimmers. At the end of the 12 weeks, 36 per cent of participants have lost on average 5 per cent of their starting weight. Weight loss then continues over the 12 months of follow-up support.

Retired nurse Margaret McNulty, 64, was struggling to come to terms with her body image post-mastectomy following breast cancer. With a BMI of over 30, she was also in denial about the fact that her weight was putting her health at risk. She enrolled on the course and over time dropped from a size 18–22 to size 14. Based on the success in Wigan, WLCT will roll out the scheme in Selby, North Yorkshire, where it also delivers services. ●

March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013

ORGANISATION Pendle Leisure Trust, East Lancashire

PROJECT Arts on Prescription

denotes feeling more positive). For 2011/12, the average starting score among participants was 43 points, going up to 50 by the end. This is based on the 14-question Warwick-Edinburgh. For comparison purposes, the average Warwick-Edinburgh score for Lancashire (where the shorter seven-question scale is used) is 27. East Lancashire scores slightly below this. Pendle is therefore working with people who score significantly below average (21.5 points for a comparative number of questions); by the end of the course, they are brought up to 25 points – much closer to the average East Lancashire score.

The project helps people who feel isolated to gain a sense of purpose

One participant, Karen, tells her story: “I was depressed, had no job, no friends and nothing to fill my time with. It was a big step to contact Arts on Prescription and ask if I could take part. I enjoyed the creativity, met new people and became interested in new things. I started a blog and did more arts and crafts.” Karen has since secured a full-time job after almost two years of unemployment.

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