Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust will be staging LYNFEST, its award-winning annual festival of music and arts for in-patients experiencing mental health conditions and their families, at Lynfield Mount Hospital, on 26 June 2019. LYNFEST showcases live performances from patients, staff, local performers and community-based arts providers.

All patients will have the opportunity to showcase their talents; from performing live on the main stage and in the hospital’s new Four Seasons café, to displaying their art and reading poetry, and helping to plan and deliver the festival. A new play ‘The Waiting Room’ has been co-produced by the United Voice Player a performance group made up of service users and staff and will debut at the festival. Another exciting new piece of work which has been developed and will be launched on the day is the LYNFEST anthology. Produced by the Occupational Therapy service, the printed book comprises of poetry, fiction and short stories from patients, carers, staff, students, friends and family of Lynfield Mount Hospital and Airedale Centre for Mental Health. Some of the work featured results from sessions which explored creative writing as a therapeutic activity for improving mental health and promoting wellbeing and recovery.

LYNFEST is an extension of the established ‘Recovery College’ based at Moorlands View, the Trust’s hospital facility for men with mental health problems who require management under conditions of low security. Everyone involved will be contributing in their own ways to make the event a success, including the unsung heroes who will soon be busy baking cakes for people to enjoy on the day and helping behind the scenes.

The award-winning festival received a national accolade in 2017 for Breaking Down Barriers/Tackling Stigma in the National Service User Awards, which recognises remarkable achievements and innovations led by service users in secure mental health services nationwide. It is a valuable opportunity and celebratory event which demonstrates the positive effects the arts can have on recovery and well-being for people experiencing mental ill health.

Chris Weston, Head of Occupational Therapy for the Care Trust’s Specialist In-patient services, said: “Now in its fourth year, LYNFEST is becoming a real focal point in the hospital calendar for patients, staff and others involved in the care of people with mental health conditions, in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. Through championing the fantastic skills and creativity of our service-users, staff, carers, and with the support of some brilliant local groups of musicians and artists, the festival helps to break down barriers and stigma surrounding mental health conditions. Year on year we are seeing more people getting involved in building our cultural capital in recovery. They are motivated to rally around the festival, creating a real sense of community and it being an opportunity to have fun and engage in activities, which ultimately brings us all together on the day.”

Following LYNFEST’s success, the Trust now holds a LYNFROST event, a winter festival that showcases performances by patients and local community groups.