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New programme gets to the ‘art’ of the community

Resource type: News

Creative Boom | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is encouraging older people to take part in the arts with a range of new projects happening across the country.

The three year £700,000 programme, which is jointly funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, provides opportunities for older people to engage with the arts, using creativity as a tool to tackle and highlight the social justice issues older people face on a daily basis.

So far the programme has funded 16 projects including Derg Valley Care Ltd in Castlederg and The Monday Club in Cookstown and the Arts Council is once again offering funding opportunities for organisations to apply for grants from £500- £50,000.

Lizzie Devlin, Community Development Officer at the Arts Council, commented: “We know that the arts can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as helping to relieve stress, worries and pain. Whether it’s through a painting workshop, a music session or dance class, the arts have an important role to play in helping older people to find a voice and express the issues which affect them on a day-to-day basis, such as poverty, isolation, loneliness, and positive mental health.”

The Monday Club, based in Cookstown received over £2,000 to organise the “Pieces of My Past Project”, which will explore memorable places, people and occasions from the lives of the club members.

Patricia Bownes, Co-ordinator of The Monday Club, said: “The aim of the club is to reach out to those who are socially isolated and to provide a safe environment where everyone’s culture is respected. The grant from the Arts Council will allow members to interact with each other, developing new skills while keeping the mind and body alert. Without this grant from the Arts Council, the members would not be able to meet the costs of such a project”

Artist Susie Crooks is delighted to be working with the group. She said: “There has been a great deal of interest in the project throughout the community. Working with older people has shown me how experience can bring a different sense of perspective, helping to create exciting new artwork. I’m looking forward to establishing relations with the people involved and exploring how art can portray memories.”

Applications for the Arts & Older People Programme will open again on Monday 28th February and close on Thursday 24th March. To find out more, or to apply for a grant, visit

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is an Atlantic grantee.

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