Photography health walks @LeedsandYorkPFT

Taking steps to get creative

Staff are helping service users to keep fit while getting creative at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Service users at The Becklin Centre in Leeds are invited on weekly photography health walks. During the walks, they visit local parks and landmarks with a walk leader, where they are encouraged to take photographs and enjoy the scenery.

Matt Osborne, Health Improvement Specialist for the Healthy Living Service, came up with the idea. He said: “The aim of the photography health walks is to increase the physical activity of those on the wards, as well as encourage them to express their creative talents by using photography to interact with the environment. There is evidence that suggests there are health benefits to interacting with green spaces which can come from the physical aspect, social contact, or therapy and relaxation associated with being surrounded by nature.

“I won a grant to buy the cameras and guidebooks for the walks from the Arts and Minds Network which has allowed the service users to have more involvement.”

The Arts and Minds Network brings together people in Leeds who believe creativity can promote mental wellbeing. It’s funded by the Trust and supports creative people who have health and social care needs as well as encouraging people to be more creative, whether they use Trust services or not. The network is open to anyone in Leeds – including service users, carers, mental health workers and artists.

Picture of flowers at Temple Newsam taken by a service user.

Flowers at Temple Newsam – photograph taken by a service user

Service users say the walks have ‘improved their confidence’ and that they ‘enjoyed the scenery’.

Matt said: “I have been amazed at the enthusiasm shown by the service users who have attended and I’m humbled by their comments and the way that they have shared their experiences of mental health. I think the walks offer something unique while supporting their recovery.”

Find out more about the Arts and Minds Network.

Find out more about the Healthy Living Service.