Older people: culture, community, connection

23 Mar 2022

What’s the impact of cultural participation in later life, and how do we capture its value? Helen Manchester explores what the research tells us. 

Scottish Ballet pilots new care home initiative

27 Jun 2022

A pilot programme called SB Duet will be launched in three Independent Sector Care homes within Inverclyde Health and Care Social Partnership to support the wellbeing of people with reduced mobility.

Scottish Ballet are partnering with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Care Home Collaborative to run the pilot, which will offer care home residents an accessible movement experience that can be done in bed or at the bedside with a carer, visitor or independently. 

The programme package includes two ten-minute films and audio resources, each containing a short excerpt of a Scottish Ballet performance, followed by five minutes of gentle guided movement.  

Dance and movement have been shown to improve physical fitness, cognitive function and quality of life for care home residents.

The programme builds on the neurological programmes and projects run online by Scottish Ballet during lockdown, which demonstrated that people with neurological conditions and reduced mobility were willing and able to take part in gentle guided exercise.

“Research suggests that dance-based interventions are effective in improving both the physical and mental well-being of older adults,” said Pooja Gupta, Care Home Collaborative AHP Care About Physical Activity Lead.

“This resource will not only support physical activity, but also promote mental well-being and help people do what matters to them the most.”

New music app to help dementia patients

14 Jun 2022

A music app designed to support care of people affected by dementia has been launched by music wellness technology firm Music Health.

The app, called Vera, analyses the age of the person with dementia, where they grew up and how they react to music, to create a personalised playlist designed to help manage the Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD).

More than 80% of people living with dementia experience BPSD and personally significant music has been found to decrease the effects.

Vera features music owned by Universal Music, after the industry giant signed a partnership with Music Health to include the label’s entire global music catalogue.

Music Health Co-Founder Stephen Hunt likened the app to a “music detective”.

“It seeks out tunes that they used to love a long time ago but may have forgotten about, which their carers may have never heard of, and their families may not even know.”

Rural art projects in Northern Ireland get £1.5m boost

Young people taking part in workshops run by arts organisation Glasgowbury
13 Jun 2022

New art fund launches to address needs of local rural communities as they emerge from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Arts Council Northern Ireland to fund support for older people

24 May 2022

Funding applications are now open for community groups, arts organisations and councils across Northern Ireland who wish to take part in the Arts and Older People Programme.

Established in 2010 by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the programme challenges perceptions of what it means to be an older person. It is designed to tackle loneliness and promote positive mental health among older people through the arts.

The latest round of the programme, in partnership with the National Lottery, will award £200,000 of funding in grants of up to £10,000 to support projects benefitting older people.

“We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as help to relieve stress, loneliness, worries and pain,” said Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Programmes Officer of Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 

She said that recent rounds of the programme have “focused on delivering arts activity within care home settings, working with residents living with dementia and their carers,” and encouraged organisations across the region to apply.

To date, the programme has provided £2m of funding to community organisations and voluntary groups, resulting in the delivery of over 200 arts projects.

Applications for this latest round of funding will close on 7 July.

National Day of Arts in Care Homes set for September

17 May 2022

This year’s National Day of Arts in Care Homes will take place on 24 September, The National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) has confirmed.

The annual event, now in its fourth year, celebrates using arts and creativity to support health and wellbeing in care settings.

A week of online sessions will begin on 19 September, focused on creating meaningful arts engagement for people living with dementia.

This year’s edition will widen the conversation beyond the UK, with arts projects from partners in Canada, Mexico and France forming part of a Care Home Twinning project, developed in response to a consultation with the care sector last year.

NAPA is calling for arts organisations to get involved by registering to host an event on the event's website

A South Asian counter narrative

portrait of Roohia Syed-Ahmed
04 May 2022

New research on South Asian arts and ageing offers insights and inspiration to a new generation, write Elizabeth Lynch and Arti Prashar.

Music has ‘critical role’ to play in reimaging healthcare 

18 Apr 2022

Recommendations in a new study include a Power of Music Commissioner, a cross-governmental taskforce and music education modules for healthcare workers.

NI care home project reached 900 people

09 Mar 2022

900 older people benefitted from an Arts Council of Northern Ireland programme in care homes last year.

The funder reports the fifth iteration of its scheme helped reduce isolation and loneliness and promote mental wellbeing. About half of the programme's projects delivered at least some of their work online, making it more widely available than it had been previously.

First piloted in 2009, it is a core National Lottery-funded programme worth £109,000 in 2021 and more than £2m over its lifespan.

"We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as help to relieve stress, worries and pain," Arts Programme Officer Lorraine Calderwood said.

An evaluation report this week demonstrates the scheme's positive effects and the "swift, innovative thinking" of those who delivered it, Calderwood added.


Bluecoat recognised for dementia arts project

09 Mar 2022

Liverpool arts centre Bluecoat has been recognised for a partnership that delivered arts sessions via video call during the lockdowns.

Bluecoat and Belong, a dementia care provider, won the Creative Arts Award at the Third Sector Care Awards 2022. Their lauded project enhanced participant's cognitive capacity and increased their sense of community.

Where the Arts Belong has run since 2019, but participation was widened during the pandemic. Artists worked with residents of Belong villages to explore storytelling, sculpture, dance and sound.

"It really is a win for all our customers and Bluecoat’s commissioned artists," Belong Interim Chief Executive Stacey McCann said.

Where the Arts Belong exhibition will open at Bluecoat later this month.

Project a blueprint for remote arts with older people

13 Dec 2021

Group phone calls, radio and the postal system were used to keep participants connected during lockdown.

Older women dancing

a woman dancing
26 Oct 2021

What is it like to perform as an older woman in an industry obsessed with youth? Sandy Cuthbert shares her experience of returning to the stage with ‘Epilogue’.

Five-year grant for creative ageing programme

07 Oct 2021

Newbury's Corn Exchange has received funding to begin the next stage of a legacy creative ageing programme.

A new team dedicated to this work has been appointed on the back of the £339,000 Lottery grant to lead engagement with older people, especially those who are rurally based and socially isolated.

The first stage of Ageing Creatively ran from 2016 to 2019. This second stage will involve a range of Covid-safe singing, writing, dance, crafts and exercise workshops, as well as a Touch to See group for the visually impaired.

Engagement Manager Hannah Elder said the programme is varied, responsive and provides a noticeable service to its community.

"We see the smiles in our Memory Cafe morning and the concentration on the faces of those attending Afternoon Art.

"We hope to see this impact continue for our ageing community over the next five years, and to play a real part locally in championing arts for health and well-being among our elders."

Care homes celebrate culture

art consultation in a care home
22 Sep 2021

The importance of access to arts and creativity in care settings has become ever more apparent during the pandemic, writes Alison Teader.

Venues aim to be dementia friendly upon full reopening

18 May 2021

Forty London arts organisations have signed up to a new charter as other initiatives promote the arts in care homes across the UK.

Testing isn't enough to bring audiences back, survey suggests

03 Dec 2020

Mandatory masks, social distancing and temperature tests make audiences feel more comfortable returning to venues - and on-the-spot testing won't change that.

Arts workers' skills bolstered frontline Covid responses

12 Nov 2020

Creativity, compassion, collaboration and a tendency towards efficiency meant arts workers were highly responsive in a time of crisis, councils say.

No growth in arts engagement over 15 years

30 Sep 2020

The proportion of adults taking part in the arts is the same as it was in 2005. ACE says there is still progress to be found in the figures.

Millennials make up more of post-Covid audiences, survey indicates

03 Sep 2020

An apparent growth in younger audiences could be a "silver lining" for the sector as fewer older people patronise the arts.

Learning from experience with isolated audiences in lockdown

a woman seated playing guitar to an elderly gentleman seated witha zimmer frame in the foreground
08 Jun 2020

Live Music Now serves audiences in the care and education sectors – but that didn’t stop musicians reaching them while they have been closed to the outside world. Evan Dawson tells the story.


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