A two-day event celebrated the contribution of arts and creative sectors to health and wellbeing in Cumbria.

The event was co-hosted by the University of Cumbria with Arts Council England, Cumberland Council, and Westmorland and Furness Council.

Staged in Barrow and Carlisle, it also had the backing of arts, cultural, civic, and employer partners.

The focus of the event was to demonstrate how organisations are collaboratively addressing key challenges such as health, education, and social inequalities.

In attendance were dignitaries and other guests who learned about initiatives that are engaging local communities, and what makes towns and cities like Barrow and Carlisle distinctive and exciting.

They also delved into how arts and culture, imagination and creativity can support health and wellbeing and promote career opportunities in the creative industries locally.

News and Star: The event stopped at Carlisle Youth ZoneThe event stopped at Carlisle Youth Zone (Image: University of Cumbria)

On January 30, Arts Council England chief executive Dr Darren Henley, and senior relationship manager Jane Beardsworth, joined other guests at Barrow Town Hall.

On the next day, the event continued at Carlisle Youth Zone where activities included a ‘youth voice’ panel discussion spearheaded by young members.

In attendance were representatives from different institutions including the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, BAE Systems Submarines, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London and the Pears Cumbria School of Medicine, Art Gene, BarrowFull, Prism Arts, Cumbria Arts and Culture Network, Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, and Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery.

Professor Julie Mennell DL, vice chancellor at University of Cumbria said: "We and our partners share a deep commitment to proactively contributing to the health and wellbeing of people and places across Cumbria - from addressing inequalities, deprivation, and isolation, enhancing place attractiveness and vibrancy, through to retaining and attracting more people to live, work and thrive here."

Dr Henley CBE praised the University of Cumbria.

He said: “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries across Cumbria make it such a special place to live, work and study.

"Every time I come here, I am excited by the creativity, innovation and sense of possibility right across the county.

"Much of that is down to the work of the team at the University of Cumbria who do a magnificent job in training the next generation of creatives, in supporting creative professionals and organisations based here, and in telling Cumbria’s story on a national and international stage.”

Councillor Virginia Taylor, cabinet member for sustainable communities and localities at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: "It was a delight to meet artists, health professionals, educators and all sorts of movers and shakers at these events in Barrow and Carlisle and I look forward to the council continuing those relationships."

Councillor Anne Quilter, Cumberland Council’s executive member for vibrant and healthy places, says the council wants to 'celebrate' what is on offer in the area.

She said: “The high-profile visit was a showcase of all the great work already underway within our cultural sector in Cumberland. We want to build on this collaborative working and celebrate all that our area has to offer.

"We are a listening council and want our partners, students, visitors and communities to be part of the development of culture within our region.”