Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Tara Reddy – shown centre (in front of pillar) – and the ArtsOnPrescription community were visited by the Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex and the Deputy Mayor of Hastings to acknowledge the valuable support that the service provided through lockdown.

Arts on Prescription recognised for supporting people in isolation through lockdown

On Friday 25 June, Juliet Smith, Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex, visited the Arts On Prescription (AOP) Friday session at His Place in Hastings town centre. Her visit was to recognise and thank the organisation for the support provided through lockdown to people in isolation across Hastings and the surrounding rural areas. HOT’s Erica Smith adds her ‘thank you’ to Tara Reddy and her team.

AOP are a team of professional artists working with wellbeing practitioners to link art to wellbeing via a GP referral pathway, promoting the benefits of holistic healthcare approaches to support recovery in Hastings and East Sussex. The AOP team facilitate a range of art activities including singing, ceramics, painting, dance and more to people referred to them via their GP/support team/self referral.

Under the leadership of Tara Reddy, who founded AOP, the service very quickly adapted to lockdown and began to deliver singing, craft and creative writing courses online. The classes proved to be a powerful support line for scores of people in and around Hastings who are lonely, at risk and vulnerable with issues impacting upon their mental health.

Deputy Lieutenant Juliet Smith meets some of the AOP community.

Rose Biela and poet Jemia de Blondeville

“We have seen a steep rise in referrals and in response to COVID19 Lockdown transferred our accessible funded art sessions onto zoom to keep people safe, connected and creative,” Tara said.

The Deputy Lieutenant spent time talking to the AOP artists and practitioners, and received a copy of a poem by Jemia de Blondeville about why AOP is so important.

The Wonderful Arts On Prescription poem  
By Jemia de Blondeville 
A RTS, and crafts, poetry, singing, and dance
O N Zoom regularly, if you get the chance
P RESCRIPTION not always a necessity, for membership to enhanceA nd the AOP logo, is no fake
O ffered by the reknowned artist, Sir Quentin Blake
P erfect for this group, and its artistic takeA lso to Tara, a special thank you
O riginator, and organiser, of this group so true
P romoting this wonderful project, woo hoo!So get out your pencils, and get out your pens
Put on your dancing shoes, start singing again
And paint, and brushes, and paper, and all
When done, you’ll find, you can again, start to walk tallAs tall as a chimney, as tall as a house
As tall, as a mountain, or a very tall mouse!

The video link below shows how valuable the support that AOP offers has been. What is not so well known is that Tara has created an organisation with a formidable team of paid arts practitioners whilst managing the day-to-day running of the organisation as a volunteer.

I have known Tara for over twenty years and have always been amazed at her creativity and vision. Since she set up AOP two and a half years ago, the organisation has grown rapidly in response to a clear need. The support that she and her creative team have offered to East Sussex residents has been so valuable. What is needed now is support for AOP in order to make the services that it offers sustainable.

Juliet Smith’s visit was heartening – it is important to acknowledge the phenomenal work that is done by our community activists. Here’s hoping that increasing the awareness of the innovative service run by AOP will lead to a secure funding model to ensure the future of this visionary well-being service.


You can read more about Tara and AOP by reading more HOT articles, or visiting the AOP website and Facebook page.


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Posted 09:26 Saturday, Jun 26, 2021 In: Community Arts

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