In March 2020 Nathan Flatman, an immunosuppressed transplant patient in a world trying to tackle a major pandemic, was being described as a vulnerable person. He despised the phrase as he felt he was a healthy, transplant patient living life to the full, not a vulnerable person in need of protection and daily support.

Nathan felt that life had changed for him forever as he shielded for 114 days in one small room, not only from the outside world, but also from his family. He understood the measures were necessary to keep his kidney transplant safe, while the world raced towards a vaccine. He describes them as tough days and the biggest challenge he has faced in his life.

Nathan was delighted when Kidney Care UK introduced him to the Renal Arts Group Museums and Galleries project after he reached out for support: “Joining this group of wonderful people and linking up for online arts visits to some really interesting museums and galleries was simply a lifesaver, a rock to anchor myself and I felt normal for a few hours.

"I enjoyed the communal participation that lifted my soul and raised my spirts. The experience has helped me build up my courage to go out now, with the added support of the vaccine in my arm, and engage once again in my love of museums and art.”

Funding from the PHA Making Life Better programme enabled the Renal Arts group to provide three online virtual visits as well as two on-site visits to museums, arts and history centres across Northern Ireland with a total of 37 participants. 25 participants showed a positive increase in their wellbeing which was 76% of those who completed the questionnaire.

Read more about the PHA Making Life Better programme