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Directory of local groups/projects who are offering specific support during the current COVID-19 pandemic »

In line with Government advice, most groups and organisations in the city have had to take the unfortunate decision to suspend face to face and group work activities. Please telephone or email the contacts listed for the group or organisation if you are interested in their work to check what alternative arrangements might be available or to find out about alternative groups or services in your area.


Art In Healthcare

ROOM FOR ART is a series of visual art workshops using a social prescribing approach to enhance the health and wellbeing of participants. The project is formed by participants and their needs and we use person-centred techniques to involve and empower people to shape the activities.

 1:1 introductory meetings
 10 weekly free art workshops working with professional artists exploring different materials and techniques; painting, collage, drawing and printmaking
 Support for a progressive pathway for participants; linking in with other support agencies and opportunities in the area, identifying gaps and support to set up own groups if required

Why ‘prescribe’ art?

There is evidence that arts on prescription can be helpful in developing social capital, personal skills and self-esteem. Some of the reasons our participants so far have identified for getting involved:

- To attend something (anything!) that gets them out the house and part of a routine
- To develop social skills
- Feel proud of something
- To find techniques to help focus
- Use art to occupy mind and distract from thoughts and problems
- To use art to express how they are feeling
- Find a way to relax through art
- To try something totally new

Although the term prescription is useful to describe the referral process, especially when working with GPs, the workshops are NOT prescriptive. The activities are very much shaped by participants and their needs and we don’t know at the start what the outcome will be. It is important for us to focus on participant’s interests, on their strengths and what they CAN do, rather than a deficit model; focusing on illness / issue that brought them here. One of the most common statements our artists hear in art workshops is ‘I can’t draw…I’m no good at art…’ but they are expert facilitators and communicators and use techniques to encourage creativity in anyone, no matter their experience of art. At first the artist will design structured activity to try a wide variety of materials but eventually, everyone develops their own interest and style and the atmosphere becomes that of an art studio rather than a class.

Examples of art work show the diversity of interests of participants; from collage assemblages in CD cases to figurative wire sculptures, from paintings of old Edinburgh to bold abstract work.

Who can be referred to ROOM FOR ART?

Those identified as in the greatest need as follows (referrals will cover some or all of these criteria):

 Experience of loss, isolation and/or loneliness which is impacting negatively on their health and wellbeing
 Mild to moderate anxiety, depression and/or stress.
 Co-morbidity of diagnosed anxiety/depression alongside physical/other health issues.
 Unemployed due to ill-health, with little evidence of family / social support
 Constrained in ability to function socially due to poor health
 A significant reliance on primary care.


If you are interested in referring someone to ROOM FOR ART please contact us or fill in and send us the referral form, which can be found at

If you identify someone for referral we can accommodate the individual after the workshops have started or add to waiting list for for when we the workshops run again.

What happens next……

Typically ROOM FOR ART comes in 10 week blocks….some people need only 5 weeks, others need a ‘repeat prescription’. We hold a 1:1 at the end of the project and revisit those goals and sign post people to other opportunities in the area. If there is the demand, we are supporting people to continue with their groups.

Absolutely no previous experience of art necessary!

With refreshments, creche available with booking.


For more information, please get in touch.
65+, 26 - 29, 30 - 34, 35 - 39, 40 - 44, 45 - 49, 50 - 54, 55 - 59, 60 - 64, 17 - 25
Days and Times
Tuesday 12:30pm - 2:30pm
North Edinburgh Arts
15A Pennywell Court, Muirhouse

North West 
Contact Details
Contact Person: Iona McCann
Contact Telephone: 0131 555 7638
Contact Email:

This record was last modified on: 28 July 2019