NetPark, based in Chalkwell Park, Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend is a wonderful project using art in an outdoor park location to help improve wellbeing.
In 2015, local arts organisation Metal launched NetPark – the world’s first digital art park. Visitors to Chalkwell Park can now find an extra layer of activity to the usual park life as NetPark, open all year round, currently hosts 15 digital artworks and stories, created by artists, musicians, writers, illustrators and Southend school pupils.
Each artwork is an App to be downloaded to your smartphone or iPad. With content hosted via GPS co-ordinates, the works take you to different areas of the park to experience by turn meditative, thoughtful audio walks, a spoken word tour of an imagined love story, a music tour by US musicians Matmos using sounds recorded on site (with a star turn for the resident peacock), augmented reality talking trees, adventure stories and much more.
Two new artworks have recently been added to the NetPark collection, in June 2017. Both audio works, Spiky Black by Amanda Loomes and Alison Carlier, created in response to the historic Rose Garden and the punk gardener who tends them, takes listeners on an abstracted but informative exploration of how roses are bred, grown and named – all set to a fantastic soundtrack. The second work, Woodland, by French and Mottershead is a contemplative piece that asks listeners to find the shade of a big tree, lie down (perfect activity for a hot day) and go on a poetic audio odyssey spanning 1000 years to explore how the afterlife of a human body is part of the natural life cycle of the earth.
NetPark is open all year round, with free public wifi across the park. The works are available to anyone through smartphones (Android or iOS) or iPads.
Please note: Some works are only available on iPads. Devices are available to borrow by arrangement from Metal on 01702 470700 or during one of our Open Days.
NetPark Wellbeing Project
The NetPark Wellbeing Project uses the collection of NetPark apps to help people living with dementia as regular attendees of the weekly groups or taking short courses or days out . Our art therapy group works with 10 people living with dementia, which also provides their carers with two hours free respite. To date, (October 2017) 1,234 hours of free art therapy have been offered to those with dementia.
Summary of NetPark Wellbeing Stats to date - 88 weeks to 20th September 2017
37 Local Organisations participated
Open Arts-NHS Mental Health Charity (6 Groups)
Project 49- Southend Learning Disability Community Support ( 3 groups)
Lancaster School (2 groups)
Summercare House Residential Home
Digital Leads- Southend Hub
St Christopher’s School
Dementia Awareness Southend
Westcliff High School for Girls
Westborough Junior School
Shoeburyness High School
St Clere’s School, Stanford-le-hope
The Plume School Maldon
Southend Adult Community College
Southend Young Carers
Just Listening 2 You- local mental health charity
Peaceful Place- early dementia onset charity (2 groups)
Friends Together- Southend Social Care
NHS CAMH Professionals
Westcliff Avenue Baptist Church
BATIAS- charity for people living with learning difficulties (2 groups)
St Thomas More
Princes Trusts Talent Match
SAVS- Southend Volunteer Association
Admiral Court Nursing Home
Trustlinks Carers- (2 groups)
Rayleigh Community Mental Health Team
Transpire –Transgender Support Network
Carers Choices- Castle Point & Rochford Young Carers Charity
7293 hours of NetParks /Digital Art Mental Wellbeing has been offered
806 participants have engaged in a wellbeing activity- all have a diagnosis of one or more of the following; depression, anxiety, bi- polar, paranoia, post traumatic stress disorder, social isolation, learning disabilities or dementia
73% of participants say their symptoms have improved
81% of participants say their self confidence has improved
77% of participants say they feel more confident in using technology
43% of participants asked stated their visits to GP/Crisis team reduced since coming to the project
1114 hours given to people living with dementia
1114 hours of free respite given to dementia carers 74 hours of dementia art therapy on average given per person 74 hours free respite on average given per carer
On average participants improve their WEMWBS by 3.4% after attending NetPark wellbeing for 12 weeks- considered a significant improvement by mental health professionals 95% of participants say they would recommend the project to others 83 volunteers have taken part in the project so far 50 of the 83 volunteers- 60%have disclosed that they live with a mental health condition 98% of our volunteers have stated they have benefitted from volunteering 85% of our volunteers state the project has helped them improve their stress and anxiety levels 25 – 30% participants of the 12 week courses – returned as volunteers 61 volunteers– 74% went on to higher education/return to education or employment after volunteering 4503 hours given by volunteers – average of 54 hours per volunteer 3 art therapy clients seen by student art therapist 17/10 16 – 29/5/17 for 27 weeks 81 hours of free individual art therapy offered 1596 visitors came to an exhibition of NetPark Wellbeing participants work at the Beecroft 7/10/16 – 24/11/16 and 1947 visitors came to the second exhibition 27/5/17-27/7/17 Total number of visitors 3543 Total number of participant exhibiting at the Beecroft was 31