As a result of receiving an Arts Council England Resilience Fund grant, Bankfield Museum has been working towards implementing health and wellbeing themed sessions into its current roster of public programmes.
The main project was to host a series of four pilot sessions in partnership with Healthy Minds Calderdale. Rather than have just one activity per session, we opted to present a range of health and wellbeing focused activities in each of the sessions, so as to increase participants’ exposure to the range of possible activities, and therefore collect data on the most and least popular, which would then inform our future programmes.
It took longer than expected to get the partnership up and running, with each organisation already busy with its own schedule and restraints, however after an initial meeting, the development of the programme ran smoothly. We worked together with Healthy Minds to promote the event, and were therefore able to access their existing service users, who were not previously Bankfield Museum visitors.
Evaluation was an integral part of the development process. Our staff attended multiple workshops and seminars, so as to be properly informed on implementation and evaluation techniques specific to measuring the impact and effectiveness of health and wellbeing programmes. We decided on two forms of evaluation; UCL generic positive wellness umbrellas, completed as a group activity at the beginning and end of each session and Facilitator’s Feedback logs, completed at the end of each session. Most of the participants felt comfortable completing the UCL umbrella evaluation forms, and many provided inspiring comments.
One participant before the final session: “Not a good week, so looking forward to this as I know it will help.”
And the same participant after the final sessions: “This has helped me so much. I have been in a dark place, & though I’m not the other side yet, this practise I’ve learned has helped enormously. I’m so grateful to Healthy Minds & Bankfield Museum.”
Retrospectively, it would have been good to offer the sessions only as a course of four, so that we could record evaluations over a four week period, rather than per session. It also proved too difficult to get the facilitator’s to complete their logs, and short, formal conversations with them after each session may have proven more useful.
Overall, the sessions were a success. We had an average of 15 participants per session, many of whom attended more than one session. The sessions were booked out well in advance and we had to turn many inquiries away. Many of the participants suffer from extreme stress, depression or anxiety, but mentioned that now they had visited the museum in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere, they would like to return on their own terms.
As these sessions were piloted as part of the ACE project (supported by MDY funding), they were offered for free. As a result of the success of these pilot sessions, we aim to offer similar workshops in the future for a nominal fee.