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Major funding has been received by Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) for a new, innovative project working with health, youth and arts partners across the county. The ICE Project, a £200,000 programme, will run for three years and will work with young people who are served by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), as well as groups who are identified as being at risk of developing mental health issues.

“The aims of the project are to reduce stigma around mental health, help young people to process their emotions and to live creative, engaged and positive lives. We are looking forward to this exciting work developing,” commented Janet Owen, HCT Chief Executive.

Artswork, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Coles-Medlock Foundation have co-invested a total of £70k in the first year of The ICE Project, which is being developed and led by HCT and CAMHS for young people in Hampshire, who have formed a new partnership to deliver the project.

“This project is an exciting collaboration between the arts sector and the NHS, and I am looking forward to the huge potential that the arts can have on young people’s mental health and wellbeing” said Helen Dove,  Innovation & Participation Lead for Sussex Partnership’s CAMHS in Hampshire.

Jane Bryant, Artswork Chief Executive, said ‘At Artswork we see first-hand how valuable high-quality arts and cultural experiences can be for the mental health and wellbeing of young people. We are very pleased to have been able to co-invest in the  ICE Programme over the next three years, and can’t wait to see how the programme develops.’

ICE - Inspire // Create // Exchange - aims to address and explore important mental health issues in young people using high-quality arts and culture. The project will measure impact and share positive outcomes, and in doing so will seek to influence organisational change. For each phase or project group, there will be three stages:  Inspire - an inspiration point, such as a trip to a cultural venue; Create - a participation phase such as regular workshops with professional artists, musicians or cultural practitioners; and finally, Exchange - showcasing opportunities, such as performance, exhibitions or online sharing of work created.

There will be core target groups of young people directly engaged in project work, specifically the Inspire and Create stages with artists, as well as a wider group of young people across Hampshire who will be reached and affected by the messages and artwork shared through the Exchange phase.

Through engaging in high quality arts and cultural programmes, the partners aim to promote positive mental health, build young people’s emotional resilience and, more specifically, bring to the attention of all the issue and impact of youth suicide and self-harm. This programme will primarily engage young people in Hampshire who have a high level of need but are unlikely to access arts and culture without the partners reaching out to them and creating targeted opportunities. The impact of this programme will be wide ranging, but the specific groups of young people who will benefit include: young carers, young offenders, looked-after children, those who identify with GID or LGBTQ, those who have been bereaved and those with autism or mental health difficulties.