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Our researchers are stepping up their work to support the delivery of heritage projects aimed at improving mental health - and are calling on more organisations to get involved.

8th March 2023
Health, psychology and sociologyHomepage - News - Standard

This Social Prescribing Day (9 March), the University’s researchers are sharing the progress of their AMPHORA project – UKRI-funded work which has developed best practice guidelines for organisations offering heritage projects as interventions for people who live with mental health issues.

Increasingly, GPs and health practitioners use social prescriptions to refer patients to local arts, heritage and cultural assets as part of their physical and mental health treatment plans, and Social Prescribing Day is a celebration of this work and the impact it can have on wellbeing.

Dr Karen Burnell, the project’s Principal Investigator at Solent University, said: “We are using today as a call to arms – we’re asking organisations who are involved in social prescribing to take a look at the guidelines we’ve developed – or to let us know how they’re already using them – and to feedback on their results, so we can improve them further.”

The research team, including archaeologist Dr Paul Everill of the University of Winchester, first launched their AMPHORA Guidelines in 2022 - a set of toolkits which cover preparing, delivering and following-up on heritage project interventions.

They are designed to assist all organisations, big or small, funded or not, in the delivery of safe intervention projects that support mental health at the same time as enhancing and protecting the historic environment that provides the setting for these interventions.

Now, working with the Council for British Archaeology and in preparation for their 2023 Festival of Archaeology, these AMPHORA toolkits have been revised and adapted into a simplified format to ensure the information is easily useable and accessible.

Dr Burnell added: “We’re inviting people to find out more about the project on our dedicated website, which now includes a new recording of the public presentation ‘From Sherds to Amphora’ which outlines our progress to date, and encouraging any individuals or organisations who have used the toolkits to send us their thoughts and experiences.”