Fantastic for Families Awards 2022 Case Study

Lending a helping hand to Upstanding Citizens

Shortlisted for the Best Age-Friendly Outreach Award in the Fantastic for Families Awards 2022, Tim Burley from artsdepot tells us about their Upstanding Citizens programme.

Providing support for older people who have previously experienced a fall, the programme helps people regain confidence and wellbeing – both mental and physical – in what can often be a very challenging time.

What is Upstanding Citizens?

artsdepot developed an Upstanding Citizens dance, music and movement service in 2021 with pilot funding from the NHS. The outreach service is designed to help older people recovering from a fall or in need of building strength, to attend workshops co-created with a frailty specialist Physiotherapist from Barnet Hospital.   

The service runs from the Friends in Need Community Centre and Age UK’s Ann Owens Centre which both support older people who can be vulnerable and isolated. We take referrals from the Falls Prevention Team and the service can work in small groups, larger groups – and can adapt to those seated and able to stand. Participants report a lift in their health and wellbeing and particularly value the social contact with our choreographer and the other people in the group. We have secured continuation funding from the lottery and are working to secure a more sustainable model with further small grant funding and fees. We hope that being nominated for this award will help to make a more compelling case for support to potential funders.  

Why did we do it?

Older people’s health – both mental and physical, can tumble quickly after a fall and it is vital to support wellbeing and physical recovery at this time to avoid further hospitalisations and decline.  

Mini case studies: Maggis and Martin

Maggis was very shy and reserved when she first attended the class. Barely participating and not getting up when we transitioned to standing. Throughout the weeks Maggis started to take part, was sitting taller in her chair and also standing and manoeuvring around the space by herself and with partners. Maggis is now more verbal – she will have a conversation before and at the end of the class and looks forward to the classes. Maggis told us she had a lifelong interest in music and dance and that the classes reminded her of shows she used to see when she was younger.  

Martin is in his 90’s and is a friendly and funny character. He struggles to get up out of the chair and this has knocked his confidence in participating in standing exercises. With alternative methods of getting up out of the chair and also the support of the chair from standing, Martin is participating in all standing activity using alternative methods of support as well as standing by himself for short amounts of time.  Martin said that whilst he previously wouldn’t have considered a dance class, now he plans to commit long term for his health.  

What have we learned?

This service and particularly the social aspects of meeting others and having an energetic young choreographer in the space quickly becomes a cherished and relied on activity for health and wellbeing. We set up one group taking referrals which is likely to become economically sustainable as participants are charged fees. The other group is based in a day care centre serving a more static group who we were advised it would be inappropriate to charge fees. As such an element of ongoing fundraising is necessary, we have secured lottery funding through to the summer of 2023.  

What does the future of the service look like? 

We are now fundraising to take our frailty specialist trained choreographers out to care partners across Barnet who usually bring their older people to us for our Matinee Lunch Club events. We aim to offer 3 sessions per care provider where the support staff can also be trained leaving a legacy of falls prevention dance and movement training across the borough. We are also fundraising for the continuation of the two core services.  

This service…quickly becomes a cherished and relied on activity for health and wellbeing.

07 December 2022



Tim Burley, Development Director  

Tim works with colleagues to devise, implement and evaluate community engagement activities. artsdepot offers a broad community engagement programme which includes creative careers insights for young people with SEN and those removed from mainstream school, an inclusive summer camp, an access fund for those on low incomes, and an older people’s arts programme.  

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6 December 2022