Older people across Northern Ireland set to benefit from arts investment of £192,000
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced National Lottery funding and public funding from the Public Health Agency, of over £192,000, for 19 organisations across the region to deliver community-based arts projects benefitting older people. The funding is part of the Arts Council's Arts and Older People’s Programme, a pioneering initiative which aims to promote positive mental health and well-being among older people through engagement with the arts whilst tackling issues of loneliness and isolation.
The Arts and Older People’s Programme was established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2010 and is now a cross-governmental partnership with funding from the Public Health Agency and The Baring Foundation. To date the programme has provided £1.8m funding to community organisations and voluntary groups across Northern Ireland in the delivery of 137 arts projects to older people. The programme has been designed to challenge perceptions of what it means to be an older person.
Lorraine Calderwood, Community 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 engagement with the arts can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as aid in relieving stress, worries and also pain. The Arts and Older People’s 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.”
One of the projects due to take place in Belfast is Artful Ageing, a six-month arts programme delivered by Eastside Arts in the east of the city. The Artful Ageing project will include weekly arts and crafts workshops, the development of a radio play with local carers groups plus arts sessions with the Wise Men of East Belfast Men’s Shed. The output of the project will form part of the Eastside Arts Festival programme in 2018.
Jacqueline O'Hagan, Community Arts Officer, Eastside Arts, said,
"We are excited to have the opportunity to run our Artful Ageing programme for a second year. This programme is aimed at breaking down isolation, loneliness and promoting well-being amongst older residents of east Belfast and we could not deliver it without the ongoing support of the Arts Council and the Arts and Older People grant."
The 19 projects to be supported by the Arts & Older People Programme include:
- Eastside Arts, Artful Aging, (Belfast)
- Streetwise Community Circus, Age-ility Circus, (Bangor, Newtownards, Belfast and Whitehead)
- Ballintoy Young at Heart Club, Young @ Art, (Ballintoy, County Antrim)
- NI Hospice, Arts for Hospice, (Belfast and Ballymoney)
- ABC Community Network, ENGAGE, (Across all of Northern Ireland)
- Bardic Educational Arts & Media, Young at HeART, (Dungannon)
- Play Resource Warehouse, A ticket to ride, (Belfast)
- Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Body Wisdom in the Community, (Derry-Londonderry and Strabane)
- Queen’s Film Theatre, QFT Older People’s Project, (Belfast, Ballymena, Carnmoney, Newtownards and Scrabo)
- Derry City & Strabane District Council, Arts for the Third Age: Music to Your Ears II (Derry-Londonderry and Strabane)
- Arts Ekta, A Visual Memoir, (Belfast, Coleraine and Donaghadee)
- Accolade, Talents of Accolade, (Newry)
- An Gaelaras, Creative Ageing Initiative, (Derry-Londonderry)
- Waterside Theatre Company, Telling Tales Intergenerational Art Programme, (Derry-Londonderry and Strabane)
- Community Arts Partnership, Artful older people and company (Belfast, Newtownabbey, Lurgan, Derry-Londonderry and Ballymena)
- Void, Glenfest, (Derry-Londonderry)
- Beth Johnston Foundation, EngAGE Art, (Ards Peninsula)
- Golden Thread Gallery, A little of what you fancy, (Belfast)
Neillsbrook Fold Tenants Association, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something true, (Toome and Randalstown)
A new round of Art & Older People’s Programme funding will open early 2018, keep up to date at www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding