The Connections scheme provides free tickets to our Festival events to local people and families who are facing a range of barriers and hardships, and would otherwise not be able to attend.

We work in partnership with local organisations and charities that support wellbeing, including the social prescribing team at Caring for Communities and People (CCP), Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH), Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA), and Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees (CWR).

Following constructive and positive conversations with NHS Gloucestershire’s Clinical Commissioning Group, and then CCP and CWR, the Connections scheme was launched at Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2022. Since then, we have developed new partnerships, and distributed over 1,500 tickets.

Feedback and case studies from our partners and their clients demonstrate that the opportunities provided by Connections can have a positive impact, and we will continue to work together to develop the scheme and improve equity and access for all.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving us such a joyful and fun weekend. Thank you for thinking of us for the tickets. We all found it really good fun and it was nice to see how others enjoy themselves here in Cheltenham. 

Feedback from Asylum Seeker who came to us through Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees

Why Connections?

Cultural equity ensures that everyone can access the same opportunities without disadvantage. There is a proven link between cultural engagement and well-being, life expectancy, educational attainment, social opportunity, and prosperity. At Cheltenham Festivals we are committed to supporting positive impacts on health and wellbeing through continually improving inclusion and access across our programmes.

One in five people visit a GP for reasons that aren't fundamentally medical - including loneliness, debt or housing. Social prescribing (via a GP or referring organisation) can connect people to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations such as volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports. It can also help to cultivate the wider infrastructure of arts, cultural and other community activities (eg sport, nature) to support health and wellbeing.