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Dementia-Arts Collaboration Achieves Awards Success

Where the Arts Belong, a unique arts collaboration between dementia care specialist, Belong, and Liverpool contemporary arts centre, Bluecoat, has won the Creative Arts Award at the 3rd Sector Care Awards 2022.

At the dazzling ceremony, attended by leading industry figures and not-for-profit care providers, host Angela Rippon CBE presented the award which recognises excellence in using art to engage with vulnerable people – in this case, Belong’s apartment tenants.

The win was determined by a panel comprising top professionals connected to care, including CEOs, academics and consultants, following interviews with nominees to explore the background and outcomes of their artistic endeavours.

Since 2019, Belong’s customers have worked closely with critically-acclaimed artists commissioned by Bluecoat, to promote wellbeing through creative pursuits and evaluate the use of arts in care environments.

The Where the Arts Belong project commenced with ‘artist residencies’ which initially saw artists working in Belong villages, leading an array of art forms, ranging from storytelling and sculpture to sound art and dance. The project formed part of the Celebrating Age programme, funded by Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation, with additional support from The Rayne Foundation. Academics observed the wellbeing benefits from the initiative, which included high engagement, enhanced cognitive capacity and an increased sense of community amongst participants.

It was during the pandemic when participation was widened to help alleviate any loneliness experienced by Belong’s apartment tenants. Funded by the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the project saw artists Gav Cross, Alan Dunn and Brigitte Jurack bringing the benefits achieved using the arts, into Belong villages across the North West, via video call.

Commenting on the win, Stacey McCann, Belong Interim Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’re thrilled to win the Creative Arts Award and it really is a win for all our customers and Bluecoat’s commissioned artists. At Belong, we strive to innovate throughout our approach to dementia care, and the arts have proven to be highly successful in engaging with our customers.

“We’re also excited for the Where the Arts Belong exhibition which opens at the Bluecoat, in Liverpool, this month and we invite everyone to come and see the work for themselves.”