Arts and Creativity

What do we mean by Creative Health?

Creative Health is an approach to address Health and Wellbeing through engagement in creative activities such as dance, drama, visual art, film making, music or puppetry to name a few! There are many benefits of the approach in terms of our children and young people here in the North East and North Cumbria.

The Ofsted framework for personal development states: 
[Paragraph 291]. The curriculum provided by schools should extend beyond the academic, technical or vocational. Schools support pupils to develop in many diverse aspects of life. The personal development judgement is used by inspectors to evaluate the school’s intent to provide for the personal development of all pupils, and the quality with which the school implements this work.  

The Child Health and Wellbeing Network strive to support creative health projects.

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Who are we?

The Child Health and Wellbeing Network's (CHWN) brings together people from all sectors across the region, such as health, education, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector, to work with children, young people and their families to make sure our work is more able to support them and have a positive impact.

We are proud to be part of a small but growing network in the North East and North Cumbria that plans to make a real difference to children’s services.

Join the Child Health and Wellbeing Network

Arts and Creativity Advisor

Martin Wilson MBE is the Child Health and Wellbeing Network's  Arts and Creativity Advisor

Martin has worked in arts and culture in North East England for over 25 years. He is the Director of TIN Arts in Durham. TIN Arts delivers activities across the North East and their vision is to create a world in which everybody has access to the arts. They hope to achieve this by removing barriers and increasing access to high-quality dance and performing arts. Martin started working with the Child Health and Wellbeing Network in 2019 as part of the STAR project. He is now in his second year as Arts & Creativity Advisor to the network. 

Connect with Martin 

Arts and Creativity Advisor Arts and Creativity Advisor

Connect with the CHWN Arts and Creativity Advisor 

National Centre for Creative Health and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing launched Creative Health Review

The Creative Health Review will highlight the potential for creative health to help tackle pressing issues in health and social care and more widely, including health inequalities and the additional challenges we face as we recover from Covid-19.

As well as producing recommendations to the Government, we hope the findings of the review will be useful and inspiring for regional and local leaders, and that the evidence and examples presented will be interesting to those involved in creative health and wider audiences.

Our own NENC STAR initiative is listed on page 72 of the document and there are some important key messages and detail within the report that will be of interest to those working with Children and Young People.

The Chris Drinkwater award for Creative Health in Primary Schools

What is the Chris Drinkwater Creative Health Award?

The Child Health and Wellbeing Network and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums  have created the award that is to recognise Creative Health projects in key stages 1 & 2 in a school setting that:

  • have been used to enhance the Relationships and Health Education (RHE) curriculum.
  •  that link to pupils’ personal development

The award comes with a financial prize and award for the best Creative Health projects.

Who can apply?

  • We are targetting this opportunity into settings in more deprived communities and where socioeconomic and health inequalities are most prevalent.
  • schools that have created or are planning a creative health project to enhance pupils’ Relationships and Health Education (RHE) curriculum and personal development,
  • creative organisations already working within schools.

Apply now!

Creative Health Application form (phase 2) QR code     Creative Health Application form link

Apply for the next Chris Drinkwater Creative Health in Primary Schools awards now!

In the beginning

The first awards event happend in September 2023 where each of the winners received funding for their schools/organisation - find out more about the winners and their projects in our brochure.

Future vision

We are now looking to build on our foundation year of these awards with more amazing creative health projects within primary schools across the North East & North Cumbria

And the winners are ... 

Creative arts brochure cover

Watch the 2023 Awards

The Creative Health Award ... meet some of the team

Read more about some of the team who have worked of the project.

Professor Chris Drinkwater CBE, FRCGP, FFPH(Hon), FRSA was an inner-city GP in Newcastle for 23 years and he is now an emeritus Professor of Primary Care Development at Northumbria University.

Chris led the establishment of HealthWORKS Newcastle as a City Challenge project in the early 1990s. He chaired Ways to Wellness, a charitable foundation established to deliver social prescribing at scale through a social impact bond in Newcastle upon Tyne, and led on Well Newcastle Gateshead, a Well North pathfinder with a focus on arts and health for all.

He was also a Director of the West End Schools Trust (8 inner city primary schools in Newcastle upon Tyne). Along the way he has been variously, President and Public Health lead for the NHS Alliance, Deputy Chair and Chair of the Philanthropy Committee for Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Community Foundation, and the Sir Roy Griffiths/Age Concern/RCGP Prince of Wales, Educational Fellow for Older People.

Chris is also our previous Arts and Creativity Lead on the Child Health and Wellbeing Network and when he stood down from the role the Network established the Chris Drinkwater Awards to acknowledge his generous contribution to the network and his passion for Creative Health, especially with primary school-aged children.

Heather has always had a passion for arts since she was a child. She joined the NHS in 1992 and as the Programme Lead for the Child Health and Wellbeing Network has encouraged progress alongside Chris Drinkwater into its founding commitment to Arts and Creativity as a cross cutting theme. This has included establishing partnerships with colleagues from Northern Ballet, attracting funding into network arts initiatives, creating a new Musical focused newsletter and the development of an Arts and Creativity Advisor role. Heather was delighted to take on the Executive Lead role for Arts and Creativity when Chris Drinkwater stepped down – but admits that they are very big shoes to fill!

Heather Corlett

Jade has worked in the role of Admin and Support for the Child Health and Wellbeing Network since 2022, previously Jade worked for Local Authorities and Charities. She is currently studying for a BSc in Psychology  as part of the course Jade has carried out a research project based around creative personalities and parenting styles. 

She has been involved in dance and performing arts from a young age and has run a successful dance school for the last 6 years in North Tyneside, alongside her full-time employment on the Network.

With Jade's interest and experience the network is delighted to have her contribution to arts and creativity projects including the South Tee Arts Project (STAR) and The Chris Drinkwater Creative Health in Primary School Awards; Jade led in designing, arranging and delivering alongside the network’s Programme Lead.

Jade continues her work making great connections with others in the Creative Health sector, to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of Children and Young People in the North East and North Cumbria.

Jade W .jpg

Kate Swaddle is the Executive Headteacher of two schools, in Gateshead. Prior to this appointment, she was Deputy Headteacher and SENCO at a school in North Tyneside, with a high percentage of SEND, Education Health Care Plans and Pupil Premium.  

Having trained in an NHS profession, before moving into teaching - she is aware of the benefits that multi-disciplinary team working brings, across all sectors. She was seconded as Education Advisor to the NENC CHWB Network, throughout 2021-2022, supporting the network to deliver on several projects including epilepsy – a strand of the Children and Young People’s Programme. She also worked in collaboration with the National Institute of Health and Care Research on the ‘Research into School’ project.  

In addition to this, Kate has supported the delivery of the early rollout Early Career Teaching programme, for University College, London -acting as a facilitator for the North East Teaching School Partnership. Having attained the NASENCO and NPQH awards, she is well placed to help children and young people to overcome their barriers to learning

Wendy Kelly is the lead for children and young people’s emotional well-being for South Tees Public Health. As well as having a system-wide remit she has responsibility for a front-line service delivering early help within educational settings to improve the resilience of children and young people.

Wendy has had a varied and interesting career in local government ranging from community development to policy and performance prior to a period of 20 years in children’s services and 8 in public health. During this time, she has led many transformational programmes supporting education and health outcomes.

She is passionate that all children and young people have the very best support, education, and opportunities to enable them to enjoy their lives and be happy. She is a governor of a primary, secondary, and special school.

Wendy has collaborated on many projects and initiatives with the NENC CHWB Network and is Chair of the Network Systems Engagement Group.

Mel Burgess is Programme Manager for Regional Cultural Learning at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM). She leads on TWAM's regional work for children and young people, including supporting the North East's network of Local Cultural Education Partnerships, and working with the health and youth sectors that focuses to develop cross-sector relationships.

She was previously Programme Manager for Culture Bridge North East, as part of Arts Council England's national Bridge programme, which connected schools and cultural organisations with an ambition to create a rich cultural childhood for every young person. She has also been a primary school teacher and a museum educator, and is a governor of a first school. She has seen the power of arts and culture in giving all young people a voice and an opportunity to express themselves, and is passionate about equitable access to these experiences.

Mel Burgess Creative Health Project

Child Health and Wellbeing Network Logo

The work so far:

  • Delivered specific NHS England pieces of work for children Partnership bids to access new funding
  • Developed advisor roles to influence our work from the broad system across system membership - now with over 2000 members signed up
  • Held events to share good practice 
  • Produced a quarterly newsletter, weekly update and social media presence 

One of the Child Health and Wellbeing Network's key cross cutting themes is art and creativity, this has led to them creating an awards programme in honour of their former Arts and Creativity Executive Lead, for primary schools; The Chris Drinkwater Creative Health in Primary Schools Awards.

The network has always promoted work in the creative arts one example is The South Tees Arts Project (STAR), an innovative school-based project to access to the arts for people living in areas of South Tees with levels of deprivation and improve health and wellbeing S.T.A.R. - resources for sharing - TIN Arts

Our vision

In the North East and North Cumbria, we believe all children and young people should be given the opportunity to flourish and reach their potential, and be advantaged by organisations working together. 

How to apply for the next set of the Chris Drinkwater Creative Health Awards

The Creative Health Quality Framework

The Creative Health Quality Framework outlines a set of principles which underpin good practice. It looks at how these principles might be adopted by everyone involved in Creative Health and explores how they might be applied to practice to
support the best possible experience and health outcomes for participants.

Where should you seek help?

A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.

Sound advice

  1. Many visits to A&E and calls to 999 could be resolved by any other NHS services.
  2. If your child's condition is not critical, choose another service to get them the best possible treatment.
  3. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about going to A&E or riding in an ambulance

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Sound advice

Use NHS 111 if you are unsure what to do next, have any questions about a condition or treatment or require information about local health services.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it.

Sound advice

You have a choice of service:

  1. Doctors/GPs can treat many illnesses that do not warrant a visit to A&E.
  2. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about visiting the GP or going to a walk in centre

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

School nurses care for children and young people, aged 5-19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and/or emotional health needs.

Contacting the School Nurse

Some primary and secondary schools may have an allocated school nurse, however this can vary depending on the area  – telephone your child’s school to ask for the contact details of your school nursing team.

There is also a specialist nurse who works with families who choose to educate their children at home.

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Sound Advice

Before your child starts school your health visitor will meet with the school nursing team to transfer their care to the school nursing service. The school nursing team consists of a school nursing lead, specialist public health practitioners and school health staff nurses.

They all have a role in preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing, by:-

  • encouraging healthier lifestyles
  • giving information, advice and support to children, young people and their families
  • supporting children with complex health needs

Each member of the team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families where there are child protection or safeguarding issues.

Health visitors are nurses or midwives who are passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. They work with you through your pregnancy up until your child is ready to start school.

Health Visitors can also make referrals for you to other health professionals for example hearing or vision concerns or to the Community Paediatricians or to the child and adolescent mental health services.

Contact them by phoning your Health Visitor Team or local Children’s Centre.

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Sound advice

Health visitors also provide advice, support and guidance in caring for your child, including:

  • Breastfeeding, weaning and healthy eating
  • Exercise, hygiene and safety
  • Your child’s growth and development
  • Emotional health and wellbeing, including postnatal depression
  • Safety in the home
  • Stopping smoking
  • Contraception and sexual health
  • Sleep and behaviour management (including temper tantrums!)
  • Toilet training
  • Minor illnesses

For more information watch the video: What does a health visitor do?

Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

Sound advice

  1. Visit a pharmacy if your child is ill, but does not need to see a GP.
  2. Remember that if your child's condition gets worse, you should seek further medical advice immediately.
  3. Help your child to understand - watch this video with them about going to the pharmacy.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?


You can treat your child's very minor illnesses and injuries at home.

Some illnesses can be treated in your own home with support and advice from the services listed when required, using the recommended medicines and getting plenty of rest.

Sound advice

Children can recover from illness quickly but also can become more poorly quickly; it is important to seek further advice if a child's condition gets worse.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

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