Raising Spirits in Malta ~

I love this idea! Could it start with you?

Laughter is the best medicine. We’ve heard that expression many a time. Laughter is the best treatment for mind and soul as it heals and renews, but best of all, it is free and makes people feel better instantly. Raising Spirits is a local initiative that capitalises on this notion − bringing a smile to patients’ faces through art to make them feel better.

Raising Spirits is a project that aims at promoting, enabling and facilitating an environment for creative and artistic volunteering in Malta’s healthcare institutions to improve patient recovery and community well being holistically.

The idea was born as an offshoot of SOS Malta’s Volserv, a voluntary service at Mater Dei Hospital.

Led by SOS Malta, the initiative is a flagship project launched within the framework of the European Year of Volunteering 2011. SOS Malta is working in partnership with Mater Dei Hospital, the Malta Cancer foundation, Voices Foundation and the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts.

Project manager Nicola Critien explained that the group’s aim is to bring national stakeholders together to explore the infrastructure required for the introduction of regular creative and artistic volunteering activities at Mater Dei Hospital, and to promote the set-up of volunteer-driven structures for this purpose.

A group of trained volunteers who form part of Raising Spirits’ organising committee are currently conducting research at Mater Dei Hospital to find out what patients and hospital workers think about introducing art there.

The group, consisting of eight volunteers from various backgrounds including drama, social work and music, received 18 hours of interactive training focused on organising arts in health initiatives. The group have formed a committee and will concentrate on raising awareness on the benefits of arts events in hospitals and other care settings and pave the way for the sustainability of such actions.

“At the moment we are ironing out all the details including discussing logistical issues with staff and making an assessment of the resources we have available. We are planning on producing two performances towards the end of the year and we are working on a draft three-year national action plan to introduce more creativity which is conducive to a better vibe in hospital,” Ms Critien added.

The committee will then recruit volunteers to start implementing the action plan, she added, and each representative of the different project partners will act as mentors for the volunteers who … Read the rest of this article here

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