4th April 2024

BEDLAM Arts & Mental Health Partnership Receives Grant from Inclusive Communities Fund

Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage, on behalf of the BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Partnership are delighted to announce they have been awarded £196,180 from the Inclusive Communities Fund to deliver an Arts and Mental Health programme, which will offer a broad range of high quality drama, visual arts, film, spoken word, music and dance participatory opportunities to individuals across Birmingham and Solihull.

The BEDLAM Partnership comprises of Sampad, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre and The Red Earth Collective, working in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT).

The Inclusive Communities Fund will see £9 million of Commonwealth Games legacy funding being distributed to grassroots projects, promoting physical and mental well-being, fostering community cohesion, and ensuring the positive legacy of the 2022 Commonwealth Games reverberates
throughout our region. The Fund has become available through a collaboration between the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Heart of England Community Foundation, and
United By 2022, the Official Games Legacy Charity.

Evidence to support the positive role that creativity can play in supporting mental health recovery is well documented.  Finding routes to recovery has become increasingly important – as according to the Centre for Mental Health, the total cost of mental ill health in England in 2022 was £300 billion, double the NHS’s entire budget in England. The funding received from The Inclusive Communities Fund will increase creative opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds by involving all segments of society – community members, families, carers, individuals with lived experiences, mental health professionals, and creative practitioners.

BEDLAM aims to engage communities of all backgrounds in open discussion surrounding mental health and social inequalities affecting wellbeing. The programme seeks to not only raise awareness but also foster compassion and understanding towards those grappling with mental illness by creating a supportive environment for dialogue and healing. Through participatory arts interventions, the initiative aims to promote recovery and resilience, empowering individuals to express and process their psychological distress.

Beyond its immediate impact, BEDLAM 2024, thanks to the funding from the Inclusive Communities Fund, will seek to explore sustainable models for future mental health support initiatives in Birmingham and Solihull. By integrating health and arts projects effectively, BEDLAM aims to enhance prevention, early intervention, and self-regulation strategies.

We’re thrilled to be able to support the BEDLAM Partnership with this funding. Their dedication to bringing communities together and improving people’s mental wellbeing, through creative expression, truly resonates with our values at the Foundation.

This project is an outstanding Commonwealth Games legacy initiative, and we’re excited to see its positive impact on individuals across Birmingham and Solihull.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive, Heart of England Community Foundation

With their allocated funding, Sampad will embark on three distinctive projects, the first being dance and movement sessions tailored to meet the needs of South Asian elderly individuals. They will also collaborate with Birmingham MIND to host a series of workshops aimed at enhancing mental well-being to be delivered at Birmingham MIND Hubs and finally, Sampad will continue their collaboration with the Journey LGBTQ+ Asylum Seeker group, centered around exploring identity and wellbeing. This collaboration will incorporate elements such as crafting a soundscape, projection and developing a Queermap.

Sampad is very grateful for the support that Inclusive Communities is giving to the BEDLAM partnership in the current difficult funding climate. The benefits of creative arts on mental wellbeing has been well documented and this award from Inclusive Communities will enable the BEDLAM partnership to continue to offer participatory creative arts activity in communities across the City.

Sabra Khan, Executive Director, Sampad

LGBTeehee, developed by The Birmingham REP, will merge comedy and psychology to boost mental health in LGBTQ+ individuals. Through story-sharing, comedic collaboration, and performance, participants will find resilience and joy. This innovative approach fosters well-being through humor and creative expression.

Investment in the Bedlam partnership’s successful and longstanding Arts and Health programme will bring welcome social support and joyful experiences for people who need it most, especially at a time when “patients and services are being forgotten” (Matthew Taylor, chief executive NHS Confederation). The Rep looks forward to engaging LGBTQIA+ communities to to be part of the BEDLAM Showcase for audiences to enjoy in November.

Alex Summers, Director of Creative Learning, Birmingham Repertory Theatre

With their funding, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) will continue its current mental health programme, offering diverse artistic activities. Participants will explore pottery, textiles, photography and more, with sessions extending into Cannon Hill Park. Recognising the therapeutic value of nature, MAC will integrate green spaces into its holistic approach, fostering well-being through creativity and connection.

We are delighted to be part of the BEDLAM Collective, providing creative opportunities that enrich people’s wellbeing, especially those who have faced barriers to access support services. Co-designed and led by participants, we will engage local communities with arts activities delivered hand-in-hand with mental health professionals.

Deborah Kermode, CEO and Artistic Director, MAC

Red Earth Collective will work with a local artist to lead activities like drumming, singing, and storytelling. Guest artists, including choreographers and singing coaches, will enrich sessions. Collaborative poetry sessions will integrate individual reflections into a collective piece, enhancing healing through artistic expression.

This funding will enable us to continue to  unleash the creativity of people in secure care services and equip more artists with the skills and confidence to promote mental health recovery through the arts.

Sandra Griffiths, Founder and Director, The Red Earth Collective

Thanks to funding from the Inclusive Communities fund, BEDLAM 2024 hopes that all participants will feel the empowering impact of being involved in creative activity and the hope that it cultivates.

Image by Tegen Kimbley