From poetry to pottery: Northern Ireland funds arts for older people

Arts Council Northern Ireland (ACNI) has awarded GBP160,000 in funding to twenty community art projects aimed at the elderly. The funds come from the Arts and Older People Programme (AOPP), which was set up in 2010 and aims to engage older people in a variety of art forms.

Examples of funded activities include Shake, Rattle and Roll, which sees elderly people in residential care in Belfast creating music and dance; Telling Tales, a 26-week drama based project for older people living in areas of high deprivation and rural areas of County Londonderry; and Age-ility Circus, which will deliver more than 50 circus workshops targeting men and women in Whitehead and Belfast.

‘Many older people in our busy society suffer loneliness, stress and health issues,’ commented Paul Kane, one of the Shake, Rattle and Roll organisers. ‘This funding…will help us to bring older people together through workshops in Belfast and in care homes, so they can experience and embrace music and technology…[it’s] a fun way for older people to enjoy arts and, importantly, bring stimulation and creativity to their everyday lives.’

AOPP has engaged more than 19,000 people in its projects since it was launched, in disciplines ranging from pottery to poetry.