Leanne Ross and Laura Aldridge

New creative projects helping mental health and wellbeing

£800,000 National Lottery funds and Scottish Government funds supports activities across Scotland. 

The positive role that art and creativity plays in enhancing our mental health and well-being is at the heart of activity taking place in communities across Scotland and backed by £800,000 of National Lottery and Scottish Government support in the latest round of Creative Scotland’s Open Fund awards. 

Forging connection through music making and storytelling is central to Acorn Shed Music’s approach.  In their latest project with partners Ceartas Advocacy and The Village Storytelling Centre, Songs from Here will bring together people living with dementia in East Dunbartonshire to create songs and stories based on lived experience. 

Set up in 2017 with the aim of finding ways to use group songwriting to explore difficult conversations, Acord Shed Music’s Co-Founder, Carol Beckwith said: “Writing songs that emerge from individual and shared stories provides opportunities to take a more creative approach to exploring the experience of dementia and dementia care.  

“We anticipate that as people begin to reveal their creative identities in this way they begin to understand that ‘voice’ is more than just the words that we say.” 

In Edinburgh, Artlink is about to roll out a new programme of workshops, discussions, performances, installations, exhibitions and artist placements for people with complex disabilities.  

Jan-Bert van den Berg Director at Artlink said: “Over the last two years amazing new creative relationships have formed between people with complex disabilities, their supports, and artists.  

“As we emerge into a post lockdown world, we want to make sure that those people who have been hardest hit are included in influencing and shaping the new cultural landscape. 

Being Human supports a programme of creative work that harnesses the strengths and passions of all involved to make the most of what has been learnt.” 

Becoming a dynamic hub of creative activity, Glasgow’s Good Vibrations supports people through communal music making, with a focus on the gamelan and Indian tuned percussion orchestra. 

Hekate Papadaki, Executive Director of Good Vibrations explains: “Through communal music-making and other creative activities we support people who may have more limited access to participating in arts and culture - those from deprived areas and those with disabilities and mental health needs - to develop personal, social and music skills, self-confidence and positive self-identities.” 

Paul Burns, Interim Director, Arts and Engagement Creative Scotland said:  

“The arts and creativity make an invaluable contribution to our health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally.  

“Thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, who raise over £30 million for good causes across the UK every week, and funding from the Scottish Government, these awards continue to address issues of mental and emotional wellbeing while also enriching the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.” 

A full list of Open Fund recipient awards is available on the Creative Scotland website. 

Contact Information

Olivia Carr

Media Relations & PR Coordinator

Creative Scotland

0141 302 1708

07970 962 322


Notes to editors


  • In January 2022, Creative Scotland’s Open Fund made 36 funding awards, totalling £869,030. 
  • The Open Fund has no deadlines, and full eligibility criteria and application guidance can be found on the Creative Scotland website.  
  • More information about Covid-19 funding and resources can be accessed via FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot, and through Creative Scotland’s Resource Directory for Covid-19.  
  • Regular updates on all emergency funding in response to COVID-19 are available on Creative Scotland’s website.   

The National Lottery has raised more than £41 billion for more than 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994. Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support people, projects and communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.  https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/  

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at www.ourcreativevoice.scot 

Image credit: Leanne Ross and Laura Aldridge. Image courtesy of Artlink.