Community groups, arts organisations and councils across Northern Ireland can now apply to the Arts Council’s Arts and Older People Programme.
This latest round of the programme, worth £200,000, invites applications for grants of up to £10,000 to deliver arts projects benefitting older people.
Applications are open until July 7. Visit the Arts Council’s website to apply www.artscouncil-ni.org
The Arts and Older People Programme has been designed to challenge the perceptions of what it means to be an older person, aiming to tackle loneliness, promote positive mental health and well-being among older people through engagement with the arts.
It was established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2010 and is now a cross-governmental partnership with funding from the National Lottery, the Public Health Agency and the Baring Foundation.
To date the programme has provided £2m funding to community organisations and voluntary groups in the delivery of over 200 arts projects to thousands of older people across the region.
Lorraine Calderwood, Arts Programmes Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as help to relieve stress, loneliness worries and pain.
“The Arts and Older People Programme aims to increase opportunities for older people to engage in the arts and more recently has focused on delivering arts activity within care home settings, working with residents living with dementia and their carers.
“Thanks to the National Lottery players, the Arts and Older People Programme is providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in the arts, enriching their lives for the better and I would encourage organisations across the region to apply.”
The Arts and Older People Programme is one of the Arts Council’s core National Lottery programme areas and has employed artists and organisations to engage with over 29,000 participants through over 200 projects since its inception as a pilot in 2009.
A recent project, Heart of the Sperrins, was developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council and was funded through the Arts and Older People Programme.
The project brought together a number of older residents living near the rural village of Lettershandoney in Londonderry to work with a professional artist, Leona Devine, to create ceramics over a four-week period.
Artist Leona Devine commented: “This project involved participants working with clay over a three-week period creating little cottages for their gardens and in the fourth week we glazed the cottages so they could take them home to enjoy and show off.
“Clay is such a therapeutic material to work with and working with your hands enables the participants to really become engaged in the process whilst having fun together as a group.”
Jean Smyth, Arts Development Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “Post-Covid we realised that older people were not getting the opportunity to engage with arts and culture the way they should so we established the Heart of the Sperrins project thanks to funding through the Arts and Older People Programme.
“This has been a great project which has allowed so many community groups to reopen and for older people to gather again, enjoy participating the arts and have some fun.”
n Applications are now open and will close on July 7. To view the guidance notes and make an application visit artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/arts-and-older-people-programme
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