Arts at the heart of new public services: Evaluation of a pilot arts commission in Kent using the Six Ways to Wellbeing

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Barnett M, Thurman C

Year of Publication:

MB Associates

Publication Type:


“Arts at the heart” is an evaluation report of a project for vulnerable young people in Kent. It was a pilot in which six arts organisations were contracted to help young people learn about the ‘Six Ways to Wellbeing’. The pilot is useful for cultural organisations to learn about tips and pitfalls at the beginning of a commissioning process.

Piloting commissioning with the cultural sector was three years in development by Kent County Council (KCC) in partnership with Artswork and ROH Bridge. This intervention is one of a number that Public Health has invested in to improve wellbeing and promote Six Ways to Wellbeing.

The tender was to run activities themed around the Six Ways to Wellbeing and participate in festivals through the latter part of 2014, so that 100 vulnerable young people would get to practise the Six Ways to Wellbeing, developed by New Economics Foundation (nef) and South London And Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Foundation Trust. The commission was awarded to six arts and cultural organisations.

The programme intended to make a difference to the cultural and public sectors in Kent as well as the public and other local authorities across the country. Key aims were to build partnerships and diversify businesses and the market, to better understand the value of culture and to adapt the commissioning process. Delivery was in two parts: a service to young people and families, and the support and evaluation programme.

This evaluation is of the whole programme of support and includes a light touch review of the success of the commissions. Most evidence was collected from those closely involved; the commissioners and providers, in interviews and workshops. The wider cultural and public sectors were also surveyed. The providers used Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale(WEMWBS) to assess impact as well as their own approaches.

Evidence Type: Survey

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Barnett M., Thurman C. (2015). Arts at the heart of new public services: Evaluation of a pilot arts commission in Kent using the Six Ways to Wellbeing. Kendal: MB Associates.