Health and the Arts in Torbay and South Devon (HeArTs) Gallery launched

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(Last Updated On: February 11, 2019)

A new arts programme called ‘HeArTs – Health and the Arts in Torbay and South Devon’ has been launched this week by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust with a grand re-opening event for the newly renovated gallery taking place in the main entrance of Torbay Hospital.

The HeArTs programme is the beginning of a collaborative vision to bring a curated programme of art and events that develop opportunities for both users and providers of healthcare to engage more fully with the diversity of arts to benefit health and wellbeing.

HeArTs aims to facilitate a range of projects across a variety of health, social care and community settings for expressive, restorative, educational and therapeutic purposes. HeArTs also curates projects that connect with local environmental organisations and conservation programmes to explore the emotional and physical effects of nature on health and wellbeing.

The first exhibition situated in the HeArTs Gallery, which was officially opened by Chairman of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Sir Richard Ibbotson and Chief Executive, Liz Davenport is a series of photographs by Hannah Maule-Finch that showcase the work of the Filo Project. The Filo Project offers high quality day care for small groups of older people. Their service supports individuals who are socially isolated with many experiencing symptoms associated with moderate dementia, including memory loss. The exhibition asks us to look beyond the stereotype of dementia to see the person within the patient.

During the launch event, guests were treated to entertainment from the dance group ‘Step in Time’, led by dance practitioner and qualified Postural Stability Instructor, Clare Parker. The group, aged 60-93, integrate exercises into dance to help improve mobility, strength and balance for falls prevention. They were followed by the ‘Singing for Wellness Choir’ who developed out of a pilot project looking at how singing can help alleviate the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

David Alderson, Clinical Lead for the HeArTs Collaborative commented: “The launch of HeArTs marks the start of an exciting journey, finding ways to integrate the arts and humanities into the fabric of health and care, across Torbay and South Devon.

“I’m really grateful to all those who contributed to the success of the launch, particularly the patient groups, who demonstrated so powerfully the benefits of engagement in creative and imaginative activity, improving their own health and developing resilience, community and mutual understanding.
“Over the coming months we are aiming to facilitate a wide range of exciting projects which will involve patients, families, carers, staff and visitors across the community.”

Sir Richard Ibbotson said, “The new gallery provides an exciting opportunity for collaboration and expression between health care and the arts. It is also an extremely important part of the care that we as a Trust deliver as it highlights the therapeutic benefits that the arts can provide.”

Project proposals are invited from members of Trust staff, arts organisations and individual arts practitioners who would like to connect the arts with the people and places of local healthcare and develop the Hearts Collaborative.

For more information about Health and the Arts in Torbay and South Devon or to share your ideas, please email


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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!