New film highlights impact of volunteering and creativity as we age
OLDER volunteers living in the North East have shed light on how creativity has benefited their lives.
The film by creative ageing charity Equal Arts features men and women talking candidly about joining improvised dance and ukulele groups and sharing their new-found interests with residents in care settings.
It celebrates the end of the five-year project in Gateshead and South Shields named Creativity Matters and made possible with funding of £338,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
“As you get older you don’t often think about chances or potential. The potential in someone who is getting older is there and that is a lovely thing.”
Since it launched Creativity Matters has worked with hundreds of older people and care home managers to highlight the health and wellbeing benefits of creative ageing and volunteering.
Engaging with more than 20 active older people living in Gateshead, South Shields and Newcastle, Equal Arts created two groups; Grand Gestures, an improvised dance collective, and Sandtimers, a ukulele group.
Among those taking part is Bob Davidson from South Shields who joined Sandtimers four years ago after retiring from his pottery business.
He said: “I have always been busy, working 10 hours a day and then I retired and thought ‘what am I going to do with my life?’ “I like to be involved and meet people and volunteering with Equal Arts is a great way of doing this.
“We take our music into care settings and play alongside people living with dementia. I find it hugely worthwhile. There may not be a lot of communication between us when we first go into a care home, but then we play and sing and residents join in and they become engaged.
“Their faces light up and in that moment we are communicating.”
Led by artists the groups meet weekly, take their practised pieces to care settings and perform at public events.
Michelle Cadby, Creativity Matters project manager for Equal Arts, said: “From the outset we wanted to help change the culture in care homes by showing a different way to engage with residents and to give older volunteers an opportunity to explore their creativity and do things they may not have done before.
“The project also aimed to combat isolation and improve the quality of life of older people living with dementia in care settings.”
Click here to find out more about the work of Equal Arts in the North East.
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