"I watch how they get everyone to take part. They start from the group and then invite the quieter people to give their views. It's very relevant, inspiring.” Activities co-ordinator, Gateshead
Creative Ageing Network

Our network, currently funded by Gateshead CCG and the Northern Rock Foundation, stages training sessions for care staff run by artist facilitators.

It builds on the workforce development project “Room for the Imagination” and enables care staff to learn communication skills from the artists.

The aim of the network is to spread good practice. We support Activities Co-ordinators and other care staff to ensure that staff understand the importance of creative activity in everyday life in care homes. The network helps build confidence, skills and creative approaches to enrich the lives of residents. The creative sessions look at creative approaches involving music, dance, storytelling (TimeSlips model) and multi-sensory visual arts. We look at how to involve other local cultural organisations to support good practice including intergenerational work.

Creativity in Care Settings

Activity provision and supporting participation is endorsed within the care standards framework and inspection processes in the UK. Engagement of older adults and adults with dementia in participatory arts can help improve cognitive functioning, communication, self-esteem, enjoyment of life, memory and creative thinking by providing opportunities for meaningful social contact. (Remington 2002, Holmes et al, 2006)

The Tyne & Wear Care Alliance are responsible for publicising the Network meetings to all the appropriate care homes, encouraging attendance and booking in attendees and supporting the events.

Artists Lunches

Every other month we stage free lunches for freelance artists who are working or would like to work with people living with dementia in care homes. Funded by the Northern Rock Foundation as part of our Arts and Dementia Network, these lunches offer North East artists an informal way to meet and share experiences. Musician Nicky Rushton, who coordinates the events, said: “Each of our lunches have varied in place, time and conversation. The discussions artists have had are both insightful and inspiring. It feels important to share experiences and practice."

Freelance dance artist Mona McCarthy works with Equal Arts on creative sessions exploring the latest delivery models such as the Imagination Model. She said: “The lunches are a fantastic opportunity for artists to be inspired by what others are doing in the North East and find out about upcoming work opportunities. “I have always felt incredibly supported as an artist working with Equal Arts and it is great to have the chance to deliver dance sessions in care settings.”

To register your interest in attending an artists’ lunch email [email protected]

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