The NCCH collaborated on a Huddle in Gloucestershire which culminated in a co-produced event 'A Heart Shaped Place' on 16 July 2022 hosted by the Forest Voluntary Action Forum and delivered in partnership with Barnwood Trust. The event marked the conclusion of a research and scoping project exploring setting up a new co-produced mental health service in the Forest of Dean.

The NCCH resourced a part-time Events Assistant, who was a young person with their own lived experience, and a Visual Evaluator (Sharon Harvey) and young filmmaker (Nia Penny-Smith) to document learning from the day. The event aimed to showcase exist community projects and look at ways of integrating these assets into the new proposed co-produced mental health service with NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Care System (ICS). The documentation created by the evaluator and the filmmaker will be shared with commissioners. The film can be viewed here >>

Visual illustration of 'A Heart Shaped Place' Event by Sharon Harvey
Visual illustration of 'A Heart Shaped Place' Event by Sharon Harvey

South West Yorkshire

In Spring 2023 the NCCH worked with South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWYFT) to co-produce better and more efficient referral routes to external projects and activities through the delivery of two sessions bringing together health visitors, peer support workers, health professionals, creative practitioners, and people with lived experience.

The aim of the sessions, which was led by a creative facilitator (Robyn Dowlen), was to bring stakeholders together in a space outside of their usual NHS workplace to look at co-producing referral routes, each bringing their own experience of the referral process and ideas around how it could be improved. This Huddle was initiated as a result of long referral processes meaning people using peri-natal mental health services at the Trust had missed out on participating in external projects and activities.

Peri-natal mental health services at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Peri-natal mental health services at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin

The NCCH is currently partnering with Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System to work closely with a group of young people and their parents and carers to explore co-production and co-produced outcomes that can support other young people accessing BeeU services (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services), part of the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

A creative facilitator is working with a group of young people who have used BeeU’s services to explore ideas and suggestions that will ultimately provide a better experience for other young people accessing services. This includes things like exploring thoughts around the community outpatient building environment, or ideas on how to engage more young people in providing feedback on their experience of using services.

Hear my Voice! Poster
Hear my Voice! Poster

East Suffolk and North Essex

NCCH worked with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Cohere Arts & Connect for Health, Ipswich & East Suffolk Alliance, Suffolk Artlink, the Food Museum and Suffolk County Council to host a half a day multidisciplinary event on 11 July 2023 entitled Just the Tonic! The hands-on discovery collaborative session brought together people with lived experience of Long Covid, clinical staff, and cultural practitioners, to explore the gaps that exist in current service provision and to look at what might be developed to fill these gaps to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those who have experience of Long Covid, or those who have experienced isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Creative Facilitator (Yasmin Khan of Covalent Creatives) designed and delivered a bespoke event format, theme, and appraisal framework, and 15 participants were invited to let their imagination run free and have their voice heard by creating tonic vessels that embodied their personal stories and hopes related to Long Covid. The tonic vessels were filled and labelled with personalised messages, which playfully encapsulates priority needs, hopes, and desired mental health solutions from the participants who attended on the day. A live illustrator (Simon Wild), was also commissioned to capture colourful visual notes during the event.

Following the session, a 3D showcase of the creative outputs were showcased at Endeavour House, Suffolk County Council, from 19 July - 9 August 2023. The showcase was open to the public and the Council's Health & Wellbeing Board also viewed the showcase.

Showcase of the creative outputs of Just the Tonic
Showcase of the creative outputs of Just the Tonic


The Women’s Mental Health Huddle in Liverpool was launched at Liverpool’s Baby Week in November 2023, in partnership with Improving Me, and University of Liverpool’s M-RIC (Mental Health Research Innovation Centre). The Huddle developed a map of mental health support in and around Liverpool based on the group’s lived experiences and a systems map was produced grouping services or support groups according to the type of service provider.

The map was printed onto fabric and the group then embroidered their individual mental health journeys on to the textile system map. As physical connections were made using embroidery floss, the group quickly realised that self-help interventions were missing from the System Map and a new cluster was added right at the centre of the map to represent the importance of self-help and nourishment.

The members of the Huddle have collectively agreed to share the map in a series of workshops to learn more about other women’s experiences of mental health services and the Sista-maps, as they have been names, will be presented at an exhibition in Liverpool City Centre during Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2024.

Liverpool Huddle - Embroidering the Sista-map
Liverpool Huddle - Embroidering the Sista-map

Tees Valley

Working with the South Tees Health & Wellbeing Network, Tees Valley Arts were commissioned to deliver a creative programme to bring together those working in the mental health system, the voluntary and community sector frontline staff, creative facilitators and those with lived experience to make and share together.

The artist Lizzie Lovejoy reflected on the sessions and created the zine and audio Portrait of a Wellness Worker.

Download the Zine here >>

Listen to the Portrait of a Wellness Worker here >>

Portrait of a Wellness Worker Cover
Portrait of a Wellness Worker Cover


Birmingham City Council are interested in promoting community engagement with green spaces, particularly with a focus on creative activity among these spaces. The providers that deliver some of this work at neighbourhood level are experiencing increased mental health difficulties and disillusionment as a consequence of increased pressures and reduced financial resources. This Huddle provided an opportunity to understand these experiences and consider ways to reduce the strain on their mental health and well-being. The outcome of the Huddle was a series of actions for all those participating to improve the situation.


A forthcoming Huddle in Chelmsford will focus on strengthening creative health in social prescribing, bringing together perspectives from health professionals, social prescribers, arts and culture providers, adults with lived experience of adverse health and young people. Recruitment of adults with lived experience of adverse health will aim to include representation from diverse and marginalised groups (including for example refugees).

Recommendations that emerge will be reviewed by the Chelmsford Culture & Health Working Group with the aim of identifying or developing pilots that test out Cultural Social Prescribing ideas as series of incubator projects from June 2024 – March 2025.

Blackburn with Darwen

A Photovoice Huddle with refugees and asylum seekers in Blackburn with Darwen aims to support their immediate wellbeing whilst understanding better their needs and enhancing community health approaches. The camera will offer a way to channel feelings and find a moment of stillness, encouraging a kind of self-care that could help to promote better mental wellbeing. Refugees and asylum seekers will use photography as a tool to record, reflect, and communicate their health needs and concerns from a grassroots perspective.