Boredom Buster

Thousands of adult NHS patients across the UK are enjoying a dose of creativity as a new ‘Boredom Buster’ publication is launched in hospitals.

The 48-page tabloid style newspaper, inspired by the beloved Summer Annual formula, has been produced for the NHS National Performance Advisory group for Arts, Design and Heritage in Hospitals, by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) in partnership with Culture Weston.

 This bumper first edition is packed with articles, activities and images designed to boost mood and alleviate anxiety and provides an individual, interactive kit of creative items. As well as reading, patients are encouraged to immerse themselves in drawing, writing, tearing and folding to make each copy their own. 

‘Boredom Buster’s’ superpower is its eclectic range of contributions from famous artists, arts therapists and professional creative health specialists. The wealth of contributors include Antony Gormley, Martin Parr, Sarah Hickson, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Deller, Mark Ravenhill, Patrick Gale, Kalpna Woolf, Luke Jerram, Wayne McGregor, Manoj Malde, Dr Phil Hammond and Dr Lizzie Burns, founder of the ‘Anti-boredom Campaign’.


The ‘Boredom Buster’ Annual can be dipped in and out of and contains a variety of themed pages to creatively engage a broad demographic of adult patients, with spreads on history, art, science, poetry, writing, photography, fashion, music, dance, travel, food, outdoors and well-being.

No Summer Annual would be complete without a healthy dose of seaside air. Martin Parr’s iconic photographs bring ice cream and knotted handkerchiefs, Kalpna Woolf’s picnic pages take us to coastlines around the world, whilst the history of Donald McGill’s saucy postcards might raise an eyebrow or two. 

There is plenty more besides to entertain. Play travel games, read aloud from Mark Ravenhill’s playlet, trace around your fingers, fold an origami heart or tear out Antony Gormley’s string of paper figures. Green-fingered readers can dream up their ideal garden with a bit of help from Chelsea Flower Show designer Manoj Malde, potential writers can read up on novelist Patrick Gale’s top tips or feel the flow of poetry in the NHS anthology ‘These Are The Hands’. 

Line up your bedside view with Alan Lightman’s look at Symmetry; discover the secret of good health with Dr Phil Hammond’s daily prescription of CLANGERS; dance the Macarena whilst sitting down; sing along to Bastille or hum your own top Tropical tunes. Salute street artist Stewy’s artwork of NHS hero Aneurin Bevan and marvel at the Universe with Luke Jerram’s Moon and Gaia.

The ‘Boredom Buster’ newspaper is being distributed to NHS Foundation Trusts and Hospital Charities throughout the country, including Bristol, Weston, Bath, Taunton, Yeovil, Sheffield, Derby, York, Coventry, Cambridge, Oxford,Liverpool and Kent, and in London at Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London, the Royal Brompton and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. 

It is also being delivered to care homes in Weston, as part of Culture Weston and UHBW’s on-going Arts + Health programme in the town.