Cartwheel Arts

Jodie Silverman - whale at #THRIVE Rochdale

Who are they?

Cartwheel Arts promotes social inclusion, cohesion, diversity and regeneration through community participation in vibrant, innovative, high-quality arts projects, called Art for a Reason.

Their vision is to champion vivid, memorable art – great art - fostering creativity and wellbeing in diverse groups and neighbourhoods, leading opinion, uniting communities and sharing good practice.
The charity was established in 1984 and became a limited company in 1987. They currently have 4 staff and 7 Trustees and work with up to 80 freelance practitioners annually.

Based in Heywood, Cartwheel Arts works across Rochdale borough and also in Oldham, Bury and Wigan, with some project work in North Manchester and other boroughs. They regularly organise conferences for their own projects and for other organisations, usually in venues in central Manchester.

“Art for Wellbeing, and our ‘game’ Wellbeing Dominoes were both designed with adults in mind. We had not expected to be working with so many children and young people. On the one hand it is sad to discover the extent of mental ill health amongst the younger generations, but we are delighted that we have a resource which seems to offer practical help.” Rick Walker, Director of Cartwheel Arts
Wellbeing Dominoes artwork, Rochdale schools

What do they do and why?

Cartwheel Arts delivers health outcomes through their Art for Wellbeing programme, which has been twice Highly Commended in the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards. NCVO published a case study as part of the Cultural Commissioning Programme
Art for Wellbeing was referenced in Health Service Journal
They use a person centred approach and locate their work in the community rather than in clinical settings. They employ professional artists alongside dedicated Emotional Support Workers with a therapeutic background to help adults, young people and children with mild to moderate mental health issues.

The company has a growing body of work with new international arrivals, particularly refugee and asylum seeker children. This is developing in part through the use of an existing tool which they have developed called Wellbeing Dominoes, but also through the creation of a dedicated resource for children to use during their first two weeks in school in the UK.

What funding did they receive and how did it help them?

Cartwheel Arts received £50,000 from GM Social Investment, which will enable them to further develop additional income streams to supplement increasingly difficult to obtain grants. They will use the investment to further develop and produce their ‘wellbeing dominoes’ game. They will also employ a dedicated business development officer to promote the game, the associated training sessions and their wider training courses across the North West.

Rock painting, Rochdale schools

What impact has the funding had?

The Wellbeing Dominos game has been very successful and whilst it was originally envisaged as a tool to support good mental health and wellbeing in adults other uses have been identified. For example, the game has been adapted to 15 different languages and 9 schools in Rochdale where they are using it to teach English as a second language and support integration into the local community.

For more information about Cartwheel Arts, visit

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