Better Connect

May 2021 - ongoing

A social prescribing project aimed at connecting 350 young and adult carers with arts and culture to transform experiences after COVID-19.

(Photograph by Helix Arts)

Better Connect is a cultural programme of opportunities to support those who have caring responsibilities in North Tyneside to take time out.

Working with local partners, in spaces close to the community, Helix Arts and our associate artists will offer a whole range of different types of creativity to try; dance, drama, craft, drawing, writing, reading, making, moving, design, music and more!

Better Connect realises our ambition of bringing arts on prescription to North Tyneside as part of the National Academy for Social Prescribing’s Thriving Communities Fund.

Check out our programme below and come to one of our ‘taster’ sessions to see if it is for you.

No matter what your age or ability. No previous experience needed. Sessions are free.

If you want any further support around caring get in touch with North Tyneside Carers Centre.



Heritage at Home

Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives explore your local heritage at home with you by sharing creative activity packs to your door.

Making Memories

Autumn 2021 – March 2022

Making memories and sharing stories through art making at the Family Gateway.

A dedicated artist in residence programme for families who share a caring role.

ITV News: Social Prescribing “Better Connect” helps carers in North Tyneside

ITV speaks with Helix Arts volunteer Debbie Reed about our You: Your Art project and how it’s helped her.

ITV News Debbie Reed

About Better Connect

Our director Cheryl says, “Carers in our community have been adversely hit by COVID-19. Especially unpaid carers, those who are often forgotten about and not accessing the support they need. We have been delivering programmes with partners like this over our 40 year history and are thrilled by this boost to help us extend our reach and build on a service that we know is important for the North Tyneside area.”

We are working with local community voluntary partners to create an alliance of organisations to support carers across the borough, especially in Wallsend and North Shields.

We are also excited to be working with Professor Stephen Clift, who is our Critical Friend for Better Connect. Stephen is Emeritus Professor for the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University. He is one of the founding editors of Arts & Health: An international journal for research, policy and practice and co-editor of the Oxford Textbook for Creative Arts, Health and Wellbeing. He has worked very closely with the Royal Society for Public Health in promoting the field of arts and health, and established the Arts and Health Awards in 2008, and the Arts, Health and Wellbeing Special Interest Group, in 2015.

The Thriving Communities Fund will support local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise projects that bring together place-based partnerships to improve and increase the range and reach of available social prescribing community activities – especially for those people most impacted by COVID19 and health inequalities.

Want to get involved?

If you’re interested in taking part, please sign up using the form above.

We have opportunities for artists and volunteers too, so please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.


Sam Burgess, Senior Producer

Email: [email protected]

Thanks to our Project Funders

This programme is funded by the Thriving Communities Fund, which totals £1.4 million, is being delivered by Arts Council England and has been made possible by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (contributing £1.15m from the Department of Health and Social Care) and Arts Council England (providing £250k from the National Lottery). Other strategic partners to the programme include NHS England and NHS Improvement, Historic England, Sport England, Natural England, the Office for Civil Society, the Money & Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.