21 July 2020

Thousands of NHS patients across the UK will soon be enjoying a dose of creativity as a new ‘Boredom Buster’ publication is launched in hospitals.

The 48-page tabloid style newspaper, inspired by the beloved Summer Annual formula, has been produced for the NHS National Performance Advisory Group for Arts, Design and Heritage in Hospitals, by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) in partnership with Culture Weston.

This bumper first edition is a pioneering, collaborative project between the arts and culture sector, hospital arts teams and participatory arts professionals. Packed with articles, activities and images it is designed for adults and older teenagers to boost mood and alleviate anxiety and provides an individual, interactive kit of creative items. As well as reading, patients are encouraged to immerse themselves in drawing, writing, tearing and folding to make each copy their own.

‘Boredom Buster’s’ superpower is its eclectic range of contributions including those from famous artists, arts therapists and professional creative health specialists. The wealth of contributors includes Antony Gormley, Martin Parr, Sarah Hickson, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Deller, Mark Ravenhill, Patrick Gale, Kalpna Woolf, Luke Jerram, Wayne McGregor, Manoj Malde, Dr Phil Hammond and Dr Lizzie Burns, founder of the ‘Anti-boredom Campaign’. 

Anna Farthing, Arts Programme Director, UHBW, said: “We are very grateful for the generosity of all of the contributors, seed funding from Above & Beyond and our ongoing collaboration with Culture Weston.  At a time when visiting is restricted, patients are in even greater need of an individual resource that can provide engaging things to do and think about.

“Boredom Buster activities are fun and they are also based on research. Content has been carefully selected to help patients communicate, maintain cognitive function and manual dexterity, and express their identity. The interest shown by colleagues from all over the country has been overwhelming.”

The ‘Boredom Buster’ newspaper has attracted national interest and the print run of 60,000 is being eagerly taken up by NHS trusts, hospital charities and other care settings, in organisations spanning the length and breadth of the country including London, Bristol, Weston, Oxford, Kent, Derby and Morecambe.

It will also be delivered to care homes in Weston, as part of Culture Weston and UHBW’s on-going Arts + Health programme in the town.

The 'Boredom Buster' was funded thanks to the Bristol City Centre Hospitals Appeal.

To order copies of the ‘Boredom Buster’ Summer Annual, hospitals, health and care settings can email [email protected].