• rss feed
  • text resize large
  • text resize medium
  • text resize small



About Us


In one guise or another, Lime has been bringing culture and the arts to Manchester’s healthcare system for the best part of 25 years.

The organisation we know as Lime was born from The Manchester Hospitals Arts Project (HA), founded in 1973 by artist and lecturer Peter Senior, who sought to explore the potential for integrating the arts into healthcare.

Initially a team of four artists were employed by the Manpower Services Commission's Job Creation Programme, followed by a team of five in 1974. In 1976, Lime’s Director Brian Chapman joined the team to explore alternative roles for the arts and artists within healthcare.

From 1975–80, ad-hoc grants developed a programme of work in visual, performance, craft, and aural art-forms, allowing the organisation to begin building a team of artists.

In 1980 HA received the first year of what was to be seven years' funding from the Manchester/Salford Urban Aid Programme. This, together with the financial support of the (then) Regional Arts Association and the health authorities meant that for the first time there was sufficient financial stability for key members of the team to be given health authority contracts.

In the health service reorganisation of 1982, the Manchester Health Authority was divided into three districts: North, South and Central. It was recognised that HA had a role to play in all three districts and fees from them were negotiated to replace the funding from the single Manchester Health Authority.

The period 1980–87 saw national awareness of the issues of arts and disability considerably raised. The Director of HA served on the Committee of Enquiry into Arts and Disabled People, which published The Attenborough Report in 1985. Through this, HA gained a national profile. From the early eighties until 1990, Manchester City Council provided grant assistance for the provision of a comprehensive programme of music and performance in a dozen Manchester hospitals and care institutions. However, the changing financial climate and pressures in the early 1990s led to the council being unable to continue its support. At the same time, Prudential Insurance's period of support for this work came to an end. With considerable regret it became impossible to continue with this part of the organisation's programme.

For ten years from 1985, HA's artist Roger Sim developed the Manchester Reminiscence Arts Project as a ‘sister’ organisation to HA, becoming recognised as a leading organisation addressing the cultural needs of older people.

Meanwhile, START (Sheltered Training in the Arts), working in the field of mental health in Central Manchester Healthcare Trust, was established by HA artist Langley Brown and textile artist and honorary lecturer, Wendy Teal. Another HA artist, Jack Sutton, was subsequently appointed to START to form SNAPS (Sheltered News and Photography Service)

START continues as an integral part of the mental health provision in Manchester.

HA's founder Peter Senior left in 1987 to set up a national resource centre 'Arts for Health' as a department within Manchester Metropolitan University. This was a significant milestone in the history of the organisation.

In the period since 1987, HA full time artists have become NHS salaried staff. The organisation acquired charitable status, underpinned by North West Arts Board annual funding. Additional support is provided by donations, sponsorship and fees from other health authorities.

In the early nineties there was a significant change in the health service: the 'purchaser/ provider split'. In Manchester, the provision of secondary care became the responsibility of four new NHS Trusts covering the earlier central, north and south Manchester district health authority areas plus the formation of the Mancunian Primary Healthcare Trust. Lime's relationship continued and strengthened with funding from the former but not the latter.

From 1995, the artistic policy changed and developed to reflect increasing emphasis on working strategically within Manchester, commissioning more artists and developing community-based arts and health initiatives. In 2000, under the new leadership of Brian Chapman, the team reduced in size and adopted a contemporary new name, Lime. Clearer artistic policies were established and a strategic direction was made clear.

From 2000 to 2007, Lime grew again to a team of seven additional workers covering strategy and marketing. Commissioning artists in all areas of the arts continued to grow. Lime gained three national and one regional award in this period and attained improved profile, freshness and flexibility, a broader base of expertise, stronger financial management, a wider range of art forms and a greater variety of artistic practice.

Funding partnerships with the four health care trusts continue to thrive and collaboration with Manchester City Council (from 2002) has developed Public Health issue based work and the development of a city-wide Culture and Health Strategy.

Lime is now an internationally-known, award-winning enterprise pushing the boundaries of artistic practice in healthcare and embedding cultural development.

Return to the top