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Arts for Health Cornwall and Isles of Scilly win major award

  • Date: 18 December 2013
  • Area: South West
Age and Ambition participants

Award-winning South West arts and health organisation Arts for Health Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (AFHC) are celebrating today following an announcement by Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation that they are one of only four successful applicants to the jointly funded Arts and older people programme.

The award of £256,200 for a 3-year programme of work will see AFHC establish Home Service, an innovative collaboration between major arts organisations from Cornwall, Devon and Somerset and residential care providers in Cornwall, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.  The programme will explore how high-quality creative arts can engage, invigorate and give a voice to older people in residential settings.

Arts partners in the project include Creativity Works, Wren Music, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, KEAP and Hall for CornwallFalmouth University will take the lead on evaluation, as AFHC wants to share their findings nationally and ensure the work continues long after the initial project is complete.

AFHC exist to improve health and well-being through creativity, and the organisation works across a wide range of artforms in projects that address the needs of different groups of people, including those in Health and Social Care environments.

Phil Gibby, Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'Arts for Health Cornwall and Isles of Scilly has an impressive track record in leading innovative high quality arts projects that really benefit people's physical, emotional and mental health and for this project they have put together a very exciting new partnership of leading arts organisations and practitioners to deliver a range of high quality arts opportunities for older people living in care.  This project has the potential to have a significant long-term impact by establishing best practice for arts and older people and we are delighted to be supporting it.'

Results from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Taking Part surveys have shown that, despite the positive impact that the arts can have on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of older people, those aged 75 or over have a much lower engagement in the arts than other age groups.

This £1 million programme aims to address this by building on the existing examples of good practice where artists and arts and cultural organisations are making a real difference to people's lives and providing a bridge between older people and the wider community.

The other successful applicants nationally are:

  • The Courtyard which will work with older people in the County of Herefordshire
  • We do which will benefit older people in West Yorkshire
  • Abbeyfield in Nottingham

Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, said: 'Art brings joy and excitement into people's lives and everyone deserves to enjoy the benefits.  There are currently over 400,000 older people in residential homes, and many are often excluded from the opportunities that taking part in arts and cultural experiences bring.

'There is a real potential to bring about a step change in the quantity and quality of arts activity that older people in residential care have access to across England and this programme is a great start. And what's more - the lessons learned from this work will be actively promoted and shared so that other care providers and arts organisations can adopt similar projects.'

David Cutler, Director, The Baring Foundation, said: 'The Baring Foundation is delighted to be working in partnership with Arts Council England. Our Arts and Older People programme which we began in 2012 has shown us that there is a wealth of good practice among art organisations in working in care homes, but this needs to be scaled up massively. These grants are an important step in that direction.'

The Arts and older people programme is supporting the Arts Council to deliver its ambitions as laid out in Achieving great art and culture for everyone, particularly in ensuring that more people can experience and be inspired by arts and culture.