Welcome to Age UK’s Creative and Cultural Network designed specifically for local Age UKs across England who are interested in developing their local offer. This page aims to give you a flavour of the work already taking place up and down the country, as well as provide inspiration, support and advice. The network was created by Farrell Curran, Head of Cultural Partnerships at Age UK Oxfordshire, in response to the large number of local Age UKs who would like to link up.
If you’d like to receive our quarterly newsletter with helpful and interesting information plus news of arts based activities from your sector please email email@example.com and ask to be added to our growing list of Local Age UK’s that are increasing their offer to include a creative strand.
Since 2017, Farrell has been working closely in partnership with Age UK head office to help local AUKs develop more creative and cultural activities across the country. The arts are often seen as something that can wait until the ‘real work’ is done, however the Age UK Index of Wellbeing in Later Life (download here) shows creativity is what older people believe has the most impact on their wellbeing so why aren’t all local Age UKs giving it the attention it deserves? As many Age UK colleagues across the country are asking “Where do you start?” we have produced the new Age UK Inspiration Pack for local Age UKs and Cultural Sector Partnerships.
The Pack offers advice on many subjects from Partnership working to Resources, from Sustainability to Funding and much more besides. You can download it here. For more information on the research underpinning this work, take a look at AUK Index of Wellbeing and Creative Cultural Participation (download here). For best practice from across the country check out the ‘share’ section of this website.
For further inspiration have a look at 64 Million Artists easy daily challenges created for the Age of Creativity Festival in May 2019 which can be downloaded here.
We asked a few older people about what participating what it means to them. Here are a couple of comments And what do older people think...we asked a few Eve participant in a pottery class said, ‘I don’t know what I’d do without creative art, I really don’t… and you can’t explain that enough to people, the feeling… just try… then you’ll see’
John R reflected, ‘I think it would be a good thing for the organisation to help people exercise their imagination. This alone helps to give people an interest to combat boredom. It is also wonderful to them be able to sit back and enjoy something "I have created." A sense of real achievement.’
We asked Andy Barry, Elders Programme Manager, Royal Exchange Theatre on how to get started from scratch creating a new arts offering… ‘START! Small ideas can lead to big transformations. Get the book Treasury of Arts Activity for older people – downloadable here. There are tonnes of ideas to get started. In the longer run, work with local arts organisations to host a range of taster activities so that people can try things. From the tasters sessions, if there is one idea that had real appeal, consider introducing that on a more regular basis, within your own setting. Making space for creative activity gives people confidence to express themselves. This is so important, as creative expression makes people feel alive, encourages them to keep learning, to join in and the health and wellbeing impacts from this can be transformational. Think about the right language – sometimes words like drama, theatre, art, culture can scare people off, so might be best to avoid calling it that, even if that is what it is. Equally, calling someone an artist and encouraging them to own that word, can be really empowering for an individual and help them to see themselves in a new light.’