Kirkham’s Heritage Health and Wellbeing Programme is a key part of the Kirkham Futures regeneration masterplan funded by Historic England and Fylde Borough Council 2021- 2024 as part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones (HS HAZ).
Kirkham Futures is designed to reinvigorate the historic town centre by bringing important buildings back into use, improving streets and open spaces, deliver engaging community heritage art projects through the Kirkham Treasures Cultural Consortium and boost individual and community well-being and reduce isolation through the Heritage Health & Wellbeing Programme developing heritage based social prescribing. Social prescribing is an approach the NHS is advocating in their Long-Term plan to connect people to activities, groups and support that improve health and wellbeing.
The Heritage Health and Wellbeing Programme has been devised by Fylde Council in collaboration with Helen Shearn, Arts, Heritage, Health & Wellbeing consultant and coordinator and supported by Dr Linda Monckton and Dr Desi Gradinarova at Historic England and links with the Strategy for Wellbeing and Heritage 2022-25
The programme was informed by the Feasibility study produced by Helen Shearn supported by FVD Consulting in 2021 and has been co-developed with the Phoenix Rising Partnership and through consultation, co-production and evaluation with stakeholders and partners.
The Phoenix Rising partnership are commissioned to deliver the programme of heritage-based activities.
Free Art, Movement & Nature Sessions
Starting from Kirkham Library 10.30am-1pm
Explore the health benefits of local green spaces.
St Michael’s Church 1pm - 3pm
Explore the people’s history of Kirkham and create.
Scrapbooks, drawings, textiles and more
Kirkham Community Centre 10am – 11am
Chair Based dance with a celebration of local music and history.
Find out more and book at the library or on the Phoenix Rising website.
Voices From Kirkham & Wesham - Oral Histories and Stories
Kirkham Treasures The Cultural Consortium were commissioned by the Kirkham Heritage, Health and Wellbeing programme to produce a project with nostalgic events called Going Out and collect and curate memories and stories (oral histories) from individuals who’ve lived most of their life in the local area supported by Kirkham and Wesham library.
The collection has the following themes: Growing Up, Work, War Time, the High Street and Going Out in Kirkham and Wesham and is available to listen to at the library and online at https://kirkhamtreasures.co.uk/oral-histories/
Threads of Kirkham’s Golden History Revealed…
Two new artworks revealing Kirkham’s heritage through community wellbeing projects were launched at the Heritage Open Day in September 2023 celebrating 200 years of the present St Michael’s Church building. Green Close the partner in Phoenix Rising were commissioned to develop these artworks as well documentary photographs of Club Day in 2022 by Darren Andrews.
· Kirkham’s Golden Threads reveals Kirkham’s history of textile production through collaborative making and research led by textile artist Danielle Chappell-Aspinwall working with local women, many who had participated in the Stitch Away Stress classes.
Read the article: Threads of Kirkham's Golden History Revealed!
· An A-Z of Kirkham - weather permitting! was developed by Kremena Dimitrova, a designer and illustrator who worked with locals to create the visually stunning folded map. The map is available for free, enabling locals and visitors to explore Kirkham and its heritage on foot and benefit from some of the 5 ways to Wellbeing to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, and give.
Kirkham: Forging a Heritage Programme as a Bridge to Wellbeing
Supporting wellbeing and cohesion in a Lancashire community through a social prescribing programme article by Andrew Chatterjee & Helen Shearn in the Historic England Research journal special issue on wellbeing and heritage, February 2022
The front cover is of the Cotton dance performance by the About Time Dance company with students from Carr Hill school on Kirkham market square.
Kirkham’s Heritage Health and Wellbeing programme receives national praise , a presentation by Helen Shearn at theSocial Prescribing Show hosted by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) at the Southbank Centre in March 2022 -
Kirkham’s Heritage Health and Wellbeing programme a presentation by Helen Shearn on the webinar on Heritage and social prescribing hosted by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) with Historic England June 2021
• How heritage can be used in social prescribing to increase people’s health and wellbeing
• How heritage can work with other sectors
Evaluation of the pilot project delivered by Phoenix Rising by independent research consultants Toby Williamson and Dr Eva Cyhlarova who have been commissioned to evaluate the final programme 2023-24.
Course participants and facilitators all described health, wellbeing and social gains, including new friendships and learning new things, e.g. about the town’s heritage. There was a wide consensus that the programme had enabled participants to make new connections and relationships, which were developed and sustained beyond the sessions and therefore building community. 2022