Using National Lottery funding, Arts Council England has partnered with the Baring Foundation to develop the £3 million joint fund, Celebrating Age, which will be awarded to organisations developing dedicated, high-quality programmes created by – and for – older people.
Celebrating Age has been developed in response to the Taking Part survey, which shows that participation in arts and culture falls dramatically over the age of 75; with more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 living alone, and more than a million older people speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member less than once a month.
The programme will work with a range of organisations to support and engage older people in arts and cultural activities, championing social inclusion and cross-generational projects.
This follows Age UK’s February summary of their Index of Wellbeing, in which engagement in creative and cultural activities are seen to make the highest contribution of 5.75 per cent to the overall wellbeing of someone over the age of 60.
Below are a few examples of projects that will be funded through Celebrating Age:
Rural Arts will use £89,635 to increase the participation of people ages over 75 in its ‘ON Tour’ and Courthouse creative programmes. The organisation aims to use the outcomes of this project to develop a model of delivering ‘Arts and Culture – On Prescription’ by embedding it in clinical healthcare plans.
Wiltshire Partnership will use an award of £99,931 to offer older people in Wiltshire the opportunity to see live performances in libraries and community centres and take part in music, dance and visual arts activities. The partnership will develop the programme of work in consultation with groups of older people living in the communities and the charities already working with these groups, to make sure the offer is relevant and meaningful.
Wolverhampton Art Gallery will use this £90,800 investment to work with Choices Housing Association, Staffordshire Arts Services and Creative Health (Arts and Health) CIC to produce Still Lively. This two-year programme of visual art activities, exhibitions and events will be created by and with older people. The gallery and Shire Living Schemes in Staffordshire will become a place to celebrate, create and share their artwork, stories and ideas, inspiring those taking part as well as other visitors.
The Albany arts centre in Deptford has been awarded £98,665 for its project with Entelechy Arts who have over 20 years’ experience working with older people. The partnership will build on the highly successful Meet Me at the Albany programme, taking activities out to six sheltered housing sites across Lewisham, as part of the Albany’s on going partnership with social housing provider Lewisham Homes. It will develop nationally replicable ways to place great art at the heart of community initiatives, and creatively engage many of the area’s oldest and most marginalised residents.
Mags Patten, Executive Director, Communication and Public Policy, Arts Council England, said:
“Being involved in arts and culture can play a big role in overcoming social isolation as well as increasing well-being for older people. The projects funded through Celebrating Age place older people at the heart of the activity.”
David Cutler, Director, The Baring Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to partner with Arts Council England in a truly significant development for arts by and for older people. These new grants demonstrate the enormous appetite of arts organisations to work with older people’s organisations in new and exciting alliances.”