Arts and Minds

The Arts & Minds Network aims to bring together people in Leeds who believe the arts can promote mental well being. The network is open to anyone who in Leeds wants to see the growth of arts and health – including service users, carers, mental health workers, artists, arts organisations and mental health organisations.

How did Arts and Minds (AM) start?

10 years ago NHS people interested in arts and mental health classes. There were many things going on in isolation so people started to coordinate good practice and projects. At the time it was done under the auspices of the Leeds Partnerships Trust, which has evolved into LEEDS & YORK NHS FOUNDATION Trust.

Arts and minds started purely voluntary, no one was unpaid, out of good will.
Then about 6 years ago, some money to pay a development worker Linda Boyles, and 2 years later money became available to employ a development manager.
Linda filled the latter role and Tom Bailey became the new development worker.

What are the aims and objectives of Arts and Minds?

The focus is on mental health and arts; to foster creativity. Arts and Minds is trying to inform Arts projects with a mental health focus and arts focus via the website and a printed magazine.

So somebody might ring Tom and say I work for service users in mental health, do you know of a arts project relevant to their needs? So the development worker signposts people to the right arts group or project for their needs. As such Arts and Minds is about client centred-ness, user survivor centred-ness. Workers service users, survivors, word of mouth between any or more than the above can make queries and referrals or self referrals.

Arts and Minds asks people to join as members, so that they can get the newsletter by post or email, the latest news and arts events. There are currently 900 members. Carers and workers are involved and there is a self defined membership, Arts and Minds is a broad socially inclusive, non discriminatory equal ops membership.

Tom Bailey started to divide work into 3 areas : Visual, Performance, Book and Film

Tom says:

“we offer a broad opportunity to involve people in arts with different individual needs for creativity. We are trying to offer different art forms, and to involve as many different people as possible: music, dance, film, drama, book clubs, writers groups, walking groups etcetera.


Arts and Minds doesn’t run all the groups we advertise or refer people to. We support these groups by signposting people to them if we think they will benefit. . We signpost group volunteers, managers, coordinators to sources of funding. We collaborate together so that everyone benefits – win-win.


And we don’t do lots of visual arts, as there’s no point – other projects do this, but where there is a needs we will spot it and try to cater fr it. Arts and Minds supports arts creativity in Leeds, encouraging mental health services users. Arts is a really good way to aid recovery.”

There is a distinction between arts in health, and formal art therapy. Arts and Minds is looking at working with art therapists and to make the case for art therapists to be used more within NHS services partly as a way of arts creativity. So give your views to Tom Bailey on this proposal and copy emails to

OTs are excellent at their job, using arts and crafts to aid recovery

What has Arts and Minds has achieved so far:

The Love Arts 3 week festival (it used to be 7 weeks)

The big Highlights Exhibition in the Autumn, and 100s of events in 10 years on many aspects of art

post by Milan Ghosh


2 thoughts on “Arts and Minds

    • thank you tifany, the feedback from my writing, dancing, art pictures and poetry is usually kind inspired and positive. it took me 15 years just to say thank you to any compliment. because of 17 years of domestic violence; so what can keep us well is giving and receiving compliment/ compassion. will you join an artsnminds group?


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