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18 Aug 2022

Community groups encouraged to apply to £200,000 Arts Council programme

Applications close on July 7.

Community groups encouraged to apply to £200,000 Arts Council programme

Community groups, arts organisations and councils across Northern Ireland, can now apply to the Arts Council’s Arts and Older People Programme. 

This latest round of the programme, worth £200,000, invites applications for grants of up to £10,000 to deliver arts projects benefitting older people. 

The Arts and Older People Programme has been designed to challenge the perceptions of what it means to be an older person, aiming to tackle loneliness, promote positive mental health and well-being among older people through engagement with the arts. 

It was established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2010 and is now a cross-governmental partnership with funding from The National Lottery, the Public Health Agency and The Baring Foundation. 

To date the programme has provided £2m funding to community organisations and voluntary groups in the delivery of over 200 arts projects to thousands of older people across the region.

A recent project, Heart of The Sperrins, was developed by Derry City and Strabane District Council and was funded through the Arts and Older People Programme. 

The project brought together a number of older residents living near the rural village of Lettershandoney to work with a professional artist, Leona Devine, to create ceramics over a four-week period. 

Artist Leona Devine said:“This project involved participants working with clay over a three-week period creating little cottages for their gardens and in the fourth week we glazed the cottages so they could take them home to enjoy and show off.

"Clay is such a therapeutic material to work with and working with your hands enables the participants to really become engaged in the process whilst having fun together as a group.”

Jean Smyth, Arts Development Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, added: “Post-Covid we realised that older people were not getting the opportunity to engage with arts and culture the way they should so we established The Heart of the Sperrins project thanks to funding through the Arts and Older People Programme.

"This has been a great project which has allowed so many community groups to reopen and for older people to gather again, enjoy participating the arts and have some fun.”

Applications are now open and will close on July 7. 

To view the Guidance Notes and make an application visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/scheme/arts-and-older-people-programme.   

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