Dr Kim Wiltshire has joined forces with an award-winning arts and health organisation to launch Create+, a pioneering project aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of frontline staff at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

The project was founded with Dawn Prescott, Lime Art’s Director, and Dr Kim Wiltshire, a British Academy Innovation Fellow and Reader in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. It provides therapeutic support through art to NHS staff who have taken sick leave or are at risk of taking sick leave due to stress, anxiety, or other mental health challenges.

Dr Kim Wiltshire

Dr Wiltshire has worked as an artist and project manager with Lime for over twenty years. She was awarded the British Academy Innovation Fellowship in 2021 for her project ‘Embedding Arts in Healthcare: Tackling the staff mental health crisis in the NHS through creative arts workshops’. The funding allowed Dr Wiltshire to put together a model of best practice for creative arts workshops.

Lime Art has already focused on supporting patients through participatory arts, but when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the organisation redirected all its resources towards supporting the NHS workforce with online workshops. This new direction led directly to the research collaboration which has produced Create+.

To access the support, NHS Line Managers refer staff directly to Create+ where they then complete a six-week course delivered by award-winning artists such as Lucy Burscough and Colette Whittington.

The workshops are held at Lime Art’s purpose-built Art and Wellbeing Centre in Manchester, producing artworks such as masks, sculptures, and etchings. They formed part of a pop-up exhibition at Lime Art’s Creative Wellbeing festival in July 2023.