Sunday, 19 August 2012

One cannot resist an idea whose time has come...

So, two years each in prison for three women who expressed their opinion of the state through peaceful protest. Looks like impotent leadership in the face of inevitable global change to me. When French author, Victor Hugo said that "music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent", I’m pretty sure, he couldn’t have imagined Pussy Riot - but with Les Misérables in mind, I can’t help thinking he would perhaps be a more effective vocal supporter, than Messrs. McCartney et Madonna. Surely its becoming more difficult for dubiously ‘elected’ leaders to quash the voices of the people? Then again, millions across the world took to the streets to oppose the attack on Iraq; and I’m still confused as to how the Coalition Government came into being!

'The NHS belongs to the people' 
NHS Constitution

Whilst our the Olympic Games have been and gone, the flame blown out (remember that stirring in your loins, but get ready for the bill) and we’ve had the thrill of the opening corporate celebration of our floundering NHS, (and the gibberish of the closing ceremony - what a platform for Pussy Riot this could have been): what about the Paralympic Games which start on the 29th? I sincerely hope that this won’t be an after-shock, without all the razzmatazz of the ‘main-event’. I wonder too, what mischief our elected and non-elected miscreants will have been up to, whilst our eye’s have been off (or rather on) the ball? So whilst we’re feeling pumped up and patriotic, lets not forget our dear old NHS and that by April 2013, it will have undergone some quite radical changes.

'Healthwatch England will act as a champion for those who sometimes struggle to be heard' 
Anna Bradley, Chair of Healthwatch

The new NHS Commissioning Board Special Health Authority (NHS CBA), will be playing a ‘key role in the Government’s vision to modernise the health service and secure the best possible outcomes for patients. Its role is to make all the necessary preparations for the successful establishment of the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) in October 2012 before it takes on full statutory responsibilities in April 2013.’ We will shortly be seeing a flurry of activity around Health and Wellbeing Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the emergence of Healthwatch, which takes over the role of independent ‘consumer champion’ for us, the public. I’d suggest that our arts/health agenda should engage at the highest level with all these groups, and of course, locally. If Healthwatch is to make sure that the views of the public and people who use services are taken into account, I can think of a variety of ways that culture and the arts will be essential to their work -  and if they genuinely want to work with people who don’t have a voice and are marginalised, this is an opportunity for the arts to facilitate dialogue. 

On 19 July 2012, champion of arts and health, Lord Howarth of Newport again raised a question about our work in the House of Lords, questioning the Government Minister Earl Howe about how we encourage commissioners to invest resources in the arts as a means of improving health. Here are the question and response.

Lord Howarth of Newport: My Lords, as Ministers review the skills needs of the health service, will they take into account the significant contribution that can be made in healthcare settings to recovery and well-being by the arts-music, poetry and reading aloud, for example? Will they signal to healthcare professionals and commissioning bodies that it is legitimate to invest certain resources in the arts and, of course, design in order to promote good health?

Earl Howe: One of the features of the reforms that we have enacted is the ability for allied health professionals, including those mentioned by the noble Lord, to have a say in the planning of services at a local level-health and well-being boards. The value of those activities, rightly emphasised by the noble Lord, will I hope in time be more greatly appreciated as the outcomes framework takes effect, and the patient experience of care becomes more prominent in the way that we assess services.

We should be very aware of the efforts Alan Howarth puts into this agenda, and he has my debt of gratitude for his consistent efforts and enthusiasm. He was in fact, an early respondent to manifesto part one. Here is a reminder of his position.

‘What is at issue is the right each one of us has to be human. To be human is to identify and liberate our own authentic and best nature. That quest will sometimes be private and sometimes be communal, and in the end the one merges into the other as we make the world we inhabit a better place. Trust, arduousness, risk, self-expression, shared work are means of moving towards individual and collective integrity. Teaching and companionship sustain us; orthodoxy and exploitation blight us. 

Politics should be predicated on these values.’

I was thrilled to listen to the soundcloud of A.L Kennedy’s wonderful lecture at the launch of the London Creativity and Wellbeing Week at TATE Modern. This is excellent and is well worth taking the time to listen to. Grab a coffee, unplug the phone, click on the image below and take an hour out.

With Kennedy, Lord Howarth and the muted voices of Pussy Riot in mind, Victor Hugo again reminds me that we are part of something bigger and regardless of individual politics, and peoples determination to suppress voices that they might not like to hear - you can’t resist an idea who’s time has come. On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées.

OK, so we know they’re bankers, but...

Lloyds TSB Foundation: Programme to Support Older People (England & Wales) The Lloyds TSB has announced a new £2 million funding programme to support projects aimed at improving the lives of older people living in difficult financial circumstances in England and Wales.  The funding is open to all registered charities that are currently working with older people particularly those living in financial difficulties; that can demonstrate a track record and knowledge of working with this group of people; and are particularly interested in innovative work and proactive interventions that encourage and support individual empowerment and independence.  The minimum grant that eligible organisations can apply for is £50,000 and grants will be available for up to a period of three years. The closing date for submissions is 5pm on the 20th September 2012.
Read more at:

Funding to Tackle Stigma & Discrimination Facing People with Mental Illness (England) Time to Change, a new campaign to end the stigma and discrimination that faces people with mental health problems, has announced its second funding round.  Time to Change will provide grants for projects which will change public attitudes and behaviour towards mental health problems.  The grants fund will distribute £2.7 million to approximately 75 community projects across England from May 2012-March 2015.  All applications should evidence how people with personal experience of mental health problems will be involved in shaping, delivering and managing the project. The grants available range from £10,000 through its small grants programme, to up to £100,000 through the Flagship grants programme. The closing date for applications is 2pm on the 21st September 2012. Read more at:

The LankellyChase Foundation has announced the launch of its new grants programme. The LankellyChase Foundation works to bring about change that will transform the quality of life of people who face severe and multiple disadvantages. Through its new grants programme the Foundation wants to form a funded network of 15 to 20 organisations who are working to transform the lives of people who face severe and multiple disadvantages. Read more at:
Deadline: 14 September 2012

Thank you for following this blog...C.P.

No comments:

Post a Comment