The Arts Council have launched plans to enable 12 Arts organisations in Northern Ireland to deliver a series of community-based art projects, designed to benefit the oldest in our community. The announcement sees £110,000 of funding become available as part of the Arts and Older People Programme. The programme was designed by the Arts Council in 2010 to “…challenge the perceptions on what it means to be an older person” and is now supported by The National Lottery, the Public Health Agency and the Baring Foundation. 

Lorraine Calderwood, Community Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland explained the benefits of a life rich in the arts.

“Research has proven that taking part in arts activities 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.” Lorraine continues, “The Arts Council is hugely proud to have supported 196 projects since the programme began and we’re delighted today to announce that a further 12 arts organisations will be supported to deliver projects with funding of £110,000.”

Living with the pandemic has meant the Arts Council have placed their resources with those who have gained experience of delivering online and socially distanced art projects to vulnerable people living with dementia. Amongst those securing funding are Arts Care, who have already been delivering online arts workshops to older people in residential and nursing care homes. Arts Care plan to design a series of Tool Kit Boxes that will provide online training to over 150 activity workers, nurses and carers across all five Health and Social Care Trust areas potentially engaging more than 2000 older people in the arts.

Other groups in receipt of funding include Armstrong Storytelling Trust, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Prime Cut Productions, Golden Thread Gallery and Streetwise Community Circus. 

The Armstrong Storytelling Trust will use their Arts & Older People’s Programme funding to bring the traditional art of storytelling, music and reminiscence sessions to older people, aged 70+, across Northern Ireland who are experiencing dementia and isolation.

Prime Cut Productions will use their Arts & Older People’s Programme funding to deliver a twelve-week visual arts, music, dance and reminiscence project to older people across Belfast, aiming to reach between 50-60 participants.

To view the full list of organisations offered Arts & Older People’s Programme funding visit http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/images/uploads/ACNI-AAOP-Awards-2020-21.pdf

Visit www.artscouncil-ni.org/funding for details on all funding opportunities.