At Sheffield Teaching Hospitals we have a varied programme of creative activities for the benefit of our patients.  We focus on wards with long-stay patients ie., people who are recovering from life changing injuries, illnesses or major surgery and patients in receipt of palliative care.  We also run sessions on wards where we have a high percentage of patients with dementia.

We work closely with arts & crafts volunteers and general ward volunteers who engage patients in conversation and arts & crafts activities to relieve boredom, improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety. They have access to a range of materials including our recently launched ‘Activities Pack‘.


Arts & Crafts on the Wards

We provide weekly arts & crafts sessions for 10 wards with long-stay patients.  Sheffield Hospitals Charity funded the activity boxes filled with art materials. We work with a dedicated team of volunteers who help to deliver the sessions and who collect feedback from patients and/or relatives.

Volunteers either work with small groups of patients in day- or dining rooms or they assist patients at their bedsides.   All our volunteers receive training and support from the volunteer services team, arts coordinator and activities coordinators.  Experienced volunteers on the wards support the new volunteers to ensure they learn to carry out their roles with confidence.

Music Sessions

Music in Hospitals and Lost Chord are the two music charities we work with to provide us with a wide range of professional musicians who come to play on our wards.  The sessions are enjoyed by patients and staff alike.  All the musicians have been carefully selected and are trained to encourage patient participation.

We had a lovely day today with lots of positive interactions with patients, staff and visitors. It’s nice when staff understand and support the work. On Brearley Ward there was a lovely nurse who came into bays and sang holding hands with patients. A physio also was pleased when a gentleman had a bit of a hip wiggle to the music walking back to his bed with his Zimmer frame“. (Holly Marland, musician from Music in Hospitals)

Lost Chord specialise in providing music for patients with dementia.  Familiar songs and melodies from past times can have a calming effect on patients who often feel anxious and isolated in unfamiliar surroundings.  Patients are encouraged to sing and dance and the concerts are often lively and happy events, enjoyed by patients and staff.

We also work with community interest company Brightside Music, founded by Aisling Holmes and Rebecca Eden-Green, who regularly play for our Outpatients at Weston Park Cancer hospital and Stroke patients at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

It is a good idea to have live music in the waiting room area. It lightens the mood of the area and makes the stress of waiting for a consultation easier to cope with” (patient at Weston Park Cancer Hospital)

The music programme is funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

In & Out of Hospital - 3 year Arts Council England funded programme

In November 2016 we were successful with an Arts Council England application and received an award of £80,000 to support an artist-in-residence programme entitled ‘In & Out of Hospital’, with additional funds from Sheffield Hospitals Charity.   This project started in January 2017 with two patient groups: Spinal Cord Injuries and Palliative Care who benefit from weekly arts and crafts sessions delivered by professional artists.

Brian Whitmore and Jane Forster from Arts Collaborative ‘Redfolio‘ based in Wigan, run weekly creative sessions with Palliative Care patients from the Macmillan Unit at the Northern General Hospital.  Since 2007, University of Sheffield’s Oral History Project has recorded over 300 stories from former patients.  There are now archived and formed the starting point for a series of short meaningful creative activities with and for patients and their relatives. The project has been selected for Festival of the Mind that takes place between 20th and 30th September 2018.  Work by patients and artists will be exhibited at Millennium Galleries. Read more here

A trio of crafts people from Yorkshire Artspace were selected to work with patients from the Princess Royal Spinal Cord Injuries Centre at the Northern General Hospital. Coralie Turpin (Mosaics), Jason Thomson (Sculpture) and Seiko Kinoshita (Weaving) take it in turns to deliver their creative skills workshops, teaching patients new techniques and supporting them to create small artworks that will go on display in June 2018 in the Avenue of Millennium Galleries

In 2018 we extended to the Hearing Impairment outpatient group and the Stroke rehabilitation patient groups.

Composer, musician and experienced workshop leader Thomas Sherman was commissioned to work with people with hearing impairments.  We worked in close partnership with University of Sheffield’s Department of Music who provided their rehearsal space and a range of musical instruments free of charge.  We had a total of 20 participants who worked in small groups and composed a variety of new musical compositions.  More information about this project can be read here.

In October 2018 we started our final project with artist Elisa Artesero and stroke patients in our recently opened rehabilitation centre (SPARC).  Elisa runs weekly workshops for small groups of patients using a range of drawing, writing and mark-making skills and tools.  Patients are encouraged to visualise and verbalise their creative abilities.  Hand-motor skills and cognitive skills are improving whilst patients become more relaxed, confident and positive during these sessions.

Regular updates about the programme and its beneficiaries are available in our News & Opportunities section.