Project information

Creative Ageing in Dementia Care

Equal Arts are the North East's creative ageing charity providing creative opportunities with older people living independently and in care settings. We aim to bring the arts and care sectors together in our pioneering projects, to improve well-being and reduce loneliness and isolation.

January 2017 - April 2017

Charity information

Equal Arts

Equal Arts logo
  • Need


    For over 30 years, Equal Arts has been committed to reducing loneliness and isolation experienced by older people, and those living with dementia. There are currently over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and an ageing population with many finding themselves facing life alone in sheltered accommodation, care homes or their own homes. For many, Equal Arts offers a real lifeline, supporting thousands of people each year, and helping them to build relationships through creativity.


    Through our project, we will work in partnership with artists, care settings, schools, cultural venues and volunteers to bring together the arts and care sectors. We aim to improve older people's access to the arts, combat isolation and improve well-being, work with key partners to raise the status of the arts with older people, support and train artists to ensure good practice, and inform Government advisers and public health organisations about arts and dementia.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop/implement programmes to improve well-being and reduce loneliness/isolation in older people.


    » Pioneering initiative leading the way in friendly & creative arts sessions for older people with dementia, long-term health conditions & their carers.
    » Empowering people through creativity by focusing on their interests as a way to help them discover new experiences & reconnect with their communities.
    » Using hen-keeping to combat loneliness & depression, whilst building positive relationships & helping vulnerable older people gain a sense of purpose.

    Formal evaluations by external professionals from Newcastle, Northumbria & Sheffield Universities. Informal evaluation is captured through participant, relative & staff meetings.

    Aim 2

    To work with public health organisations and other partners to raise the status of the field.


    » We aim to set high standards of good practice in arts and dementia, and will disseminate the outcomes through partners and networks.
    » We will demonstrate the benefits of creative activity to managers and staff working in the care sector.

    Validation through funding or willingness to deliver innovative partnerships as well as disseminate positive materials at forums, events & conferences as well as organisational PR.

    Aim 3

    To support and train artists to ensure good practice.


    » Supporting artists facilitating the project in developing good practice, and providing opportunities for others wishing to work in the field.

    Deliver training for creative ageing sector professionals based on Training Needs Analyses and a 3 year training plan to incorporate a variety of differing models and approaches.

  • Impact


    Improved health, well-being and quality of life for vulnerable older people demonstrated through recognised data and compelling case studies. Increased interest and status in Creative Ageing amongst partner organisations demonstrated through differing organisation contributing financially & expressing a clear interest in partnership working. Creative Ageing professionals have increased skills and knowledge and able to meet the increasing demands of the sector proven by artist & sector feedback


    Attrition amongst care staff and managers is very high with both staff sickness and changing of staff. Changing managers at the start of a programme of work can have a major impact with 'creative ageing' activities not being prioritised alongside other 'medical/care' needs. The Care Quality Commission have rated care homes where Equal Arts deliver creative ageing activities as Outstanding with only 0.6% of care homes attaining this rating indicating the importance of quality of life activities


    Equal Arts will report to donors on a regular basis through social media including Facebook and Twitter as well as through the website. Additionally e-newsletters will be circulated alongside other specific communications. Events & face to face meetings, showcases or launches will also be provided

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 Arts activities in dementia ca 10 dementia care homes involve 200 older people in weekly activities over 3 months proving benefits

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Arts Council England £6,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Equal Arts have been operating for over 30 years, and are the North East's creative ageing charity. Our project will support older people and those living with dementia in Gateshead, Newcastle and across the UK.


    Through our project, we will work in partnership with artists, care settings, schools, cultural venues and volunteers, to bring together the arts and care sectors and ensure access to creative opportunities to improve quality of life and well-being.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    There is a growing understanding that creativity is intact long after other cognitive functions decline. With more than 30,000 people in the North East living with dementia (set to rise to over 40,000 by 2021), we are unique being the only organisation in the Northern region dedicated to delivering arts and older people's programmes involving professional artists. We believe this is an ideal opportunity to encourage venues in the North East to widen their offer for people with dementia.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Douglas Hunter

    Douglas manages our Carers groups and HenPower and Creative Age programmes, and oversees the development of Resident & Relative groups in care homes.

    Ben Wilson

    As Individual Giving Fundraiser, Ben is responsible for developing and implementing an annual programme of engagement and fundraising activity.

    Mark Sproat

    Mark is the Equal Arts Business Lead, and leads on the Creative Friends programme and the selling of HenPower merchandise.

    Jos Forester-Melville

    As the Equal Arts HenPower Lead, Jos works closely with over 40 dementia care settings to implement and give support for our HenPower programme.