artsdepot: winning last year’s Best Age Friendly Welcome Award
Winning the Best Age Friendly Welcome was such a boon for artsdepot, it validated several years of hard work building a programme of events and activities targeting older people, and ensuring our visitor services team provide the best welcome possible to a wide variety of visitors.
In 2014 artsdepot secured funding to lead a research project with Age UK & University of the Arts London exploring barriers to the arts faced by older people. Through that project we surveyed 1000 older people and interviewed 24 – we learnt that daytime activities were preferred over night-time, and that affordability, relevant content and the social elements of attending are key to arts participation. We also learnt that some older people, particularly those with disabilities and those living in supported environments, can be extremely lonely and with minimal access to arts & creativity.
Hence we launched a Matinee Lunch Club providing subsidised tickets and hot lunches to vulnerable and isolated older people who are brought to artsdepot in groups supported by Age UK, Jewish Care, a Hindu Cultural Centre, and a range of care providers and community groups. At some events we now welcome close to 100 older people, most of whom have mobility issues, a high number have dementia. We put on the best shows, our staff volunteer to help serve lunches and chat to our guests, and surprisingly we learnt that one of the great things about the events was how much our staff enjoy getting involved. We get to directly see the impact of our work, and hear isolated older people tell us how thrilled they are to be out, and how much they enjoy the show & lunch experience.
Our older people’s work also includes an Over 60’s arts group that has recently grown and we are thinking to make it weekly rather than every other week, and our over 60’s dance group which is at capacity, we’re thinking of opening a second group. Another initiative we have been working on is a Matinee Club membership for anyone over 60 – distinct from our programme targeting vulnerable older people. Last year over 20 older people joined that membership and some of them now meet socially after our matinees where we provide free tea & biscuits. Winning the Best Age Friendly Welcome showed us that we’re on the right track and has encouraged us to continue on our journey providing an inviting and warm welcome to older people, and also offering an engaging high quality and relevant creative programme. Thank you for your support.
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30 November 2018