Sunderland pharmacy and arts project team up to battle loneliness

Rowlands area manager Kathryn Brown
Rowlands area manager Kathryn Brown
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A joint venture between a pharmacy and an arts project is hoping to tackle loneliness and isolation in Sunderland.

Rowlands Pharmacy has teamed up with The Cultural Spring arts project to promote and publicise workshops and arts programmes available to residents living close to the chain’s five Sunderland pharmacies in Pallion, Millfield and Chester Road.

Rowland’s Sunderland-based area manager Kathryn Brown said: “I was at a Sunderland Business Group meeting and heard a presentation from Cultural Spring Project Director Emma Horsman – I just saw the synergies straight away.

“Emma was talking about how the project and community arts can help people overcome loneliness and that’s something we come across as community pharmacists. It’s sad but true that sometimes our delivery people are the only folk that some of our customers see all week.

“As a company, we’re all about proactive healthcare and that means mental wellbeing as well as physical healthcare. The Cultural Spring provides a wide range of community workshops across a variety of art forms and we can see huge health benefits in some of our customers attending these workshops. So we’ll be handing out leaflets, signposting and promoting the workshop programme as best as we can – perhaps even advising people to attend them when we’re delivering interventions.

“Within each of our Sunderland pharmacies we have health promotion zones and we’re hoping to use these spaces for publicising Cultural Spring activities too.”

She added: “We’re working in the same communities with the same people as The Cultural Spring and I think linking up is a great idea.

“Although I’ve worked away, I was born and bred in Sunderland and am passionate about improving the health of people within the city – and I do think this joint project can improve people’s lives in a meaningful, non-threatening way, even if it’s just something as simple as meeting people at a class or workshop.”

The Cultural Spring workshops feature everything from photography, ceramics, jewellery-making and creative writing to singing, storytelling, sewing and crafts.

The Cultural Spring’s summer programme of workshops will be unveiled later this month.