Six Ways to Wellbeing

Turner Contemporary and Mandy Quy Verlander

Partnership between Kent County Council Public Health, Royal Opera House Bridge and Artswork – delivered in six districts in Kent by arts and cultural partners working in consortia with libraries, healthy living centres and voluntary and community organisations:

Aims and Objectives:

  • To encourage arts and cultural partners to engage with the commissioning process and to develop new partnerships and business models.
  • To tackle mental health issues in young people including vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in six targeted districts, using high quality arts and creative interventions to promote and share the Six Ways to Wellbeing. To create wellbeing champions in the community.
  • To share learning from the programme in the form of a commissioning toolkit available online.

Funding Sources:

  • Co-investment from Artswork and ROH Bridge organisations, levering £120,000 of Kent County Council’s Public Health commissioning budget with an additional budget for a support package and evaluation – total budget £254,000

Timescale and delivery dates:

  • Delivery May to December 2014. The support programme began in November 2012


  • Bridge organisations support innovative programmes and step change through partnership investment, levering co investment opportunities from non-arts sources


Kent, districts of Gravesham and Dartford, Swale, Thanet, Maidstone and Shepway

Description of the arts activity

  • The project saw the following arts and cultural organisations running activities based on the Six Ways to Wellbeing: Dover Arts Development with Jasmin Vardimon Company, Icon Theatre, Ideas Test with Swale CVS, LV21 with Kent Equality Cohesion Council (KECC), Cohesion Plus and the Grand, Rhythmix and Soundhub (now Kent Music) and Turner Contemporary.
  • Young people worked to practice the Six Ways to Wellbeing, developed by New Economics Foundation (nef) and South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Foundation Trust. Work developed by young people in response to the Six Ways themes was showcased at festivals and events in the latter part of 2014.
  • Providers were also part of a support and evaluation action-learning group.
  • Arts Award was integrated into the activities so a number of young people involved in the programme could also achieve an accredited outcome.
  • 904 children and young people actively participated in the programme, with 182 achieving Arts Award. 2 new Arts Award Centres were created, and 6 new Arts Award advisers were trained.
  • A further 20,038 participants and their families took part in the festival events, with 189 extra staff and volunteers involved.
  • 156 young people became Wellbeing Champions: “Since becoming a Wellbeing Champion, my outline towards everyday things has changed. I think a lot more about how I can become more positive and incorporate the Six Ways in my day-to-day living.” (Young person)

Details of the project participants

Young people aged 13–19 and up to 25 SEND Project participants were recruited via healthy living centres, libraries and youth community groups or centres.

Project management

The programme was offered free to participants. Six main providers were commissioned and oversaw delivery in their district working with a number of other partners. The programme was overseen by Kent County Council who monitored the programme via regular reporting which was shared with the other investment partners at review meetings.

Evaluation methods and findings

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England