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Arts Care deliver arts training to promote positive mental health in vulnerable older people

Wednesday 12th May 2021 at 12pm 0 Comments Arts & Health , Arts and Older People

Pictured outside Bradley Manor Nursing Home are (L-R),  Jenny Elliott, CEO of Arts Care, Gillian Mason of Bradley Manor Nursing Home, who took part in the training, Grainne Kielty, Arts Care’s Artist in Residence and Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Council of N Image: Pictured outside Bradley Manor Nursing Home are (L-R), Jenny Elliott, CEO of Arts Care, Gillian Mason of Bradley Manor Nursing Home, who took part in the training, Grainne Kielty, Arts Care’s Artist in Residence and Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Council of N

Arts Care, one of the leading arts, health and well-being organisations based in Northern Ireland, has been providing an online arts training programme to healthcare workers with the aim of upskilling staff and giving them the confidence to deliver arts activities to vulnerable older people in residential care settings.  To date 150 healthcare staff have signed up to take part in the training which is funded by The National Lottery, Baring Foundation and Public Health Agency, through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Arts and Older People Programme.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Arts Care were no longer able to deliver their work in person so quickly adapted and developed an online resource, Arts Care 4U,a  jam-packed channel on YouTube featuring lots of engaging and interactive videos covering, music, singing, dancing, drawing, painting, exercise, writing, poetry, story-telling and much more.  In addition to this, Arts Care has been physically delivering Art Boxes to residential and nursing care homes across the five Health and Social Care Trust areas.  The Art Boxes are designed to complement the online resources and includes all the materials needed to enjoy taking part in the various arts activities on offer.

The arts training programme empowers healthcare workers to use both the Art Boxes and the online resource, Arts Care 4U, to bring the joy of the arts to the older people they care for.  The overall aim is for staff to use the arts as a tool to promote positive mental, emotional and physical health at a time when many residents are suffering greatly from isolation and loneliness as a result of the pandemic restrictions.

Each week, National Lottery players raise £30million for good causes across the UK.  Lorraine Calderwood, Community Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, explained how the Arts and Older People’s Programme is making a difference to the lives of older people across the region,

"Research has proven that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as aid in relieving isolation and loneliness for older people. The Arts and Older People Programme is committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in arts activities, enriching their lives for the better. 

The arts have a vital role to play in helping older people find their voice and express the issues which can often affect them on a day-to-day basis, thus promoting positive physical and mental health.  The Arts Council is hugely proud to support this terrific training programme from Arts Care, one of 196 projects the Arts and Older People Programme has supported throughout the past 12 years.” 

Jenny Elliott, CEO and Artistic Director at Arts Care, commented,

“The Arts Training Programme has been designed and delivered by a team of professional artists as part of a response to the emergency needs of older people in residential and nursing care.  The need was very much there for continued access to arts activities during the pandemic to support their mental health and well-being.

A huge outcome as a result of the training is that healthcare staff are now integrating creativity into their everyday care practice which has had great benefits for the older people they care for.”

For further information on the work of Arts Care visit www.artscare.co.uk

To find out more about the Arts and Older People Programme visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/the-arts/participatory-arts1/arts-and-older-people

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