THE NHS Social Prescribing initiative is a welcome extension to what voluntary and health groups around Keighley have been running for years quietly in the background.

Social Prescribing involves GP practices getting some patients involved in community activities as a health-boosting alternative to being given pills or medical treatment.

It is good to see publicity and encouragement for such activities whether physical or hobby-based.

Many national magazines and papers have printed articles in the last few months on the general merits and benefits of getting out of the house and mixing with like-minded people locally.

Self-confidence and interaction with others can be seen to change at these groups.

One example is art groups, such as those at Long Lee/Thwaites Brow and Riddlesden, which both meet on a weekly basis. New members are welcome.

Other art sessions are held at Exley head, Silsden, Crossroads, Sutton, Bingley, East Morton, Oakworth, Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley, and Keighley Healthy Living.

Call me on 01535 669914 in the mornings for contact details, or read the Keighley News Doorstep and Diary Dates sections. Some Keighley members go to several groups.

Some groups are teacher-led but we all help out and hope to have fun.

Joining in with local groups helps to support the community and the buildings they rent, benefiting all sides.

Town and district councils have for many years given grants for many of the meeting places to help with their running costs. Art and exercise groups hire these buildings.

Mary Kay came to the Long Lee group for eight years and got back involved with pastimes such as crocheting a throw.

Sadly Mary passed last year, but Mavis Rawson-Chad inherited one of her throws. This inspired Mavis to knit matching cushion covers which now brighten her living room.

She also makes hats and other items, all from her wheelchair, while entertaining us with stories, at the newly-named Long Lee Chat and Crafts Group

We still draw and paint but will now also carry out card-making for Manorlands, which Christine Wrathall works hard at from her wheelchair.

Other crafts are collages, embroidery, knitting, crochet and quilting.

I have been contacted by several NHS staff for details of art groups. Contact details for many other volunteer-run groups in Bradford district are listed online in the Diva website.

Local doctors’ surgeries are now actively compiling contacts for such groups, and will be encouraging patients to be more socially involved and make new friends and hobbies/interests.

Keighley and Bingley art groups recently held their 2019 exhibition at Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley.

We would like to thank the hordes of visitors and Cliffe Castle staff who supported our work. Ten percent of the paintings were sold. Some items appear on the Facebook pages of Keighley Art Club and Cliffe Castle.