An innovative arts project aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation, is taking up residency in Kirklees following £30,000 funding from Arts Council England.

A troupe of artistic medics called the ‘Art Doctors’ will be working with Kirklees Libraries staff to develop activities and research the impact creativity has on our wellbeing. It will also focus on the role libraries can play in helping people make connections and get involved in their community.

Throughout July, the Art Doctors will be creatively prescribing from Huddersfield Piazza, setting up their practice in the old Thornton’s unit wearing their paint-splattered coats and stethoscopes. Here, they will be offering a taste of activities before the launch of the full programme in Autumn.

Doors will be open Wednesday 19 July to Saturday 22 July 10am until 4pm, and again from Wednesday 26 July until Saturday 29 July where people can try their hand at painting, drawing, and writing as well as performing arts such as dance and playing music. These are free activities for individuals of any age and families to enjoy.

Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “Kirklees Libraries are at the heart of our communities, delivering activities that promote art and culture. We are excited to be working with the Art Doctors on this flagship project that will create compassion, encourage community connections, and tackle loneliness and social isolation in Kirklees.  Our programme of activity will adapt to the needs of local residents helping them to be more involved and active in their communities.

“This project will add another string to our bow complementing the work our social prescribers do with Primary Care Networks in Kirklees and I would encourage everyone to pop down and try their hand at something creative.”

The Art Doctors were founded in 2015 by Leeds-based artists Alison McIntyre, Liz Stirling, and Tom Bailey. They are now a group of 12 artists working across West Yorkshire.