According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Meaningful engagement with the world around you in later life, such as through social and/or creative activities, can contribute in excess of 20 per cent to a person’s wellbeing.
Celebrating Age: Arts and Cultural Organisations Leading Change was developed in response to figures from the Taking Part Survey, which show that participation in arts and culture falls dramatically over the age of 75. The programme supports arts and cultural organisations to develop dedicated, high-quality programmes of activity focused on engaging older people, placing them at the heart of the activity. Celebrating Age is a £3 million partnership fund between Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation, supported by National Lottery funding, which has been awarded to successful applicants over two rounds, the first round being awarded in February 2017.
Some examples of awarded projects:
Voluntary Arts Network Voluntary Arts Network has been awarded £100,000 of Arts Council funding for the Age of Creativity Festival – a festival celebrating creativity in later life. It will bring together the experience and expertise of specialists across every region to present a month-long programme of accessible, inspirational and challenging creative activity with, for and by older people. Led by Voluntary Arts, Age UK and Age UK Oxfordshire, the festival will draw together a programme of artistic activity that stretches across the country and connects with partners across the UK.
Helix Arts Ltd Building on the success of its grass-roots dance engagement programme Falling on your Feet, Helix Arts will develop seven more programmes across the North East. By encouraging older people to work with artists, arts organisations and community partners, the organisation hopes that older people will emerge with the confidence, skills and motivation to self-manage neighbourhood dance ensembles themselves.
Cinderford ArtSpace Cinderford ArtSpace and a diverse consortium of partners will deliver Branching Out, a quality programme that will increase older people’s participation in arts and culture in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Utilising existing cultural spaces and taking inspiration from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the project will bring community groups, volunteers and artists together to improve the well-being and quality of life of older participants.
Gateshead Council Library Service Gateshead Council Libraries & Culture Team, 64Million Artists and Gateshead Older People’s Assembly will deliver Art75 – a programme of arts activities targeted at people aged 75+ in libraries across Gateshead. The programme aims to tackle social isolation through creative art challenges, developing arts skills and providing opportunities in a supportive and sociable way, encouraging older people to be part of their local community.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “For older people, being involved in arts and culture can play a big role in overcoming social isolation as well as increasing health and well-being. The projects funded through Celebrating Age place older people at the heart of the activity, improving skills, confidence, and community togetherness. It’s exciting to see such a range of brilliant and important projects taking place over the next three years.”
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 organisation in new and exciting alliances.”
For more information contact:
Abigail Knell, Communications Officer, Arts Council England
Tel: 020 7268 0537, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation – and it can have a serious effect on health. But there are ways to overcome loneliness, even if you live alone and find it hard to get out. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely and cut off from society in this country, especially those over the age of 75.
People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, no longer being the hub of their family, leaving the workplace, the deaths of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness. This can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing.
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
The Baring Foundation was established in 1969 and tackles discrimination and discrimination through strengthening civil society. The Foundation’s arts programme across the UK has focused in arts and older people and includes partnership with all four national Arts Councils.