Living Well with Chronic Pain

About the Programme

Participants in this programme benefit from getting creative with other people who understand. 

People can choose from in-person or online courses or, if struggling to engage in groups straight away, a chance to work remotely with our Creative Navigator to bring down barriers.

Courses include lots of options too – people can work collaboratively and independently, and be introduced to a range of artforms and activities. We’re currently running:

We have organised research sessions and co-production groups including people living with chronic pain to inform our offer on this programme. It was developed over 3 years as part of NHS Gloucestershire ICB’s Test and Learn programme.


“By engaging in creative activities new to me I have been able to manage my pain better because my brain has been diverted from thinking about the pain to focusing on the creative activity.

The tutors are very caring and supportive as are the other members of the group. We usually laugh together which is a great antidote to pain and sadness”

  • 96% of participants showed a meaningful improvement in general wellbeing (2022-23 WEMWBS scores)
  • there was an average 16% increase in ability to self-manage pain amongst last year’s participants
  • over the past 2 years, 37% reported a decrease in GP visits

 Who can refer?

Anyone living with chronic pain can self-refer themselves to the programme or any professional working with people living with chronic pain can send us a referral form. This may include:

  • GPs 
  • Social Prescribers or Link Workers
  • The Pain Management team
  • Physiotherapists
  • Pharmacists

Who’s it for?

Individuals referred must be:

  • Over 18 and living with chronic pain challenges.
  • Comfortable in a group setting or prepared to work with our Creative Navigator towards joining a group 
  • Willing / able to use Zoom if being referred for an online course (we can support with Zoom familiarisation)
  • Registered with a GP in Gloucestershire.

What participants experience

Group participants are supported over 10 – 20 sessions to:

  • develop creativity and build social connection through a variety of artistic genres / activities 
  • if they wish, define light-touch goals through a personalised creative health plan, which focusses on what they can do, rather than any real or perceived limitations
  • devise Move On plans, including the setup of participant-led groups where appropriate, to enable participants to continue using creativity as a tool in their ongoing pain self-management post-Artlift

Living Well with Chronic Pain projects run between:

  • April and July
  • September and December
  • January and March

Click here to see our current courses or contact us for more information

By engaging in creative activities new to me, I have been able to manage my pain better because my brain has been diverted from thinking about the pain to focusing on the creative activity

Artlift Participant

Are you a potential participant?

Refer yourselfIf you are an individual living in Gloucestershire and would like to put yourself forward for either our Create Well or ICU Leavers programmes, please...

Are you a health professional?

Refer to usIf you are a health, VCSE or social prescribing professional, or are working with a patient / service user who could benefit from Arts on Prescription please...