Our Latest News

2013 / November

Start2 - The benefits of regular creative activity


You’ll see that Start2 has changed! We’ve developed Start2 so that you can select creative activities and Occupational Therapy exercises from specific wellbeing categories. We’ve added more bite-sized activities to enable you to build creative activity into daily lives without it feeling like a chore.  The older resource as you know it will be available for a month, alongside our newly restructured Start2.


Click here to read our recommendations of getting the best out of Start2.


Outdoor activities have proven health benefits. Being outdoors can help improve physical fitness, increase our concentration, boost our happiness and increase our Vitamin D levels. Reap the benefits with our new seasonal Be Active ‘Autumn Shapes’ activity.  Use this interesting and enjoyable way of getting out and about, and noticing your surroundings in a different way.  This is a great activity to do on your own or with others. 


Emily Maguire, singer-songwriter, says of Start2,


“Regular creative pursuits have enormous potential for healing the mind and creating a balance in life. From my own experience as someone with bipolar disorder, I've found that writing a journal, looking at paintings, songwriting, poetry and music are all powerful outlets that allow me to explore and express myself outside of the negative definitions of illness. There are many benefits to doing regular creative activity - we can feel relaxed, rewarded, invigorated, curious, alive, and connected.  Through creative activity we can explore and express ourselves in a gentle and positive way, which opens up a greater possibility of living fulfilling lives. Start2 is a great resource, which enables people to do just this and take charge of their own lives. I would encourage anyone to use these imaginative and enjoyable activities to boost, manage and maintain positive mental health. It’s a fantastic NHS service that offers a unique approach to managing wellbeing that you wouldn’t dream existed until you found it.”


Read more about Emily Maguire here.

Sainsbury's HR Shared Service use Start2 in their 'Time to Talk Campaign' 2013

Sainsbury’s HR in Manchester have been using online wellbeing resource Start2 as part of a quarterly campaign ‘Time to Talk’ and yearly Health and Wellbeing Agenda.

The focus of the campaign was to engage people in talking about mental health. Mental health issues and statistics were shared using colourful and humourous weekly ‘Health and Wellbeing’ emails. Creative and social lunchtime activities gave people the opportunity to connect to others and experience other wellbeing benefits derived from taking part in these activities. This allowed people to become more aware of, and to build upon, ways to combat mental ill-health and maintain positive wellbeing. Information was given about local cultural events with the benefits of engaging and visiting cultural venues being explained using Start2 resources.

People were keen to do short activities to benefit their wellbeing at lunchtimes. Pencils, paper and board games in breakout areas encouraged people to have fun and interact.  The Start2 ‘Recipe For a Good Mood’ fridge magnets added a splash of colour and a focus for people to create their ‘Recipes’ whilst they waited for their food to heat in the kitchen.

Rachel Carr Occupational Health Case Advisor says;

“The Start2 online resources have been an invaluable inspiration for our campaign. I felt supported and encouraged at all levels by the Start2 Team and have shared details of the resource with stores and other members of the Occupational Health Team.”

As a result of the campaign people felt confident in sharing their personal stories within the office, with some opening up to team leaders and managers, who were then able to offer appropriate professional help.


World Mental Health Day MMU Creative Wellbeing Workshop

Studies show that taking part in creative activity has many health benefits, and MMU wanted to give their staff and students first hand experience using a Start2 workshop for World Mental Health Day.

In the 1-hour workshops participants used positive thinking, lateral thinking and creative problem solving techniques to create colourful and unique collage artworks to take away with them. Each creative process highlighted ways of using creative techniques in every day life to benefit wellbeing, for example, the use of colour around the home to boost mood, or using mind maps to problem solve and help with decision making.


"Thank you. I found it very relaxing – a good way to switch off and forget about worries. I’ve learnt to be more creative at home."

"Fantastic! Really enjoyed this, great way to break up a work day and definitely feel happier and calmer. Thank you!"

"I came here as a friend told me I would enjoy it.  I feel more peaceful and had fun and really enjoyed it. Thank you!!"

"So enjoyable, I had a few reservations but in the end I didn’t want to leave! I feel so proud of my collage!"

"Thank you! Really relaxing and helpful. I came to relieve stress.”


Start2 offers training, consultations and workshops tailored to you. To find out more about this please click here.



Best wishes


The Start2 team