Avoiding ageism in arts funding

16 February 2007, United Kingdom

The news is continually full of bright young things doing amazing things – and the funding follows suit, with special schemes for youth arts. There’s no denying that funding youth arts projects is vital for the future of the UK and Ireland, but what happens to the oldies – surely they deserve a look in? The Arts Council England in the East Midlands this month recognised the importance of funding all age groups in the arts by awarding a £67,000 Lottery grant to Growing Bolder, a successful arts programme for the over 60’s in Mansfield. Growing Bolder began as a pilot scheme in 2000 but has become well established. Running out of Mansfield Museum, Mansfield Palace Theatre and The Old Library it has delivered a range of courses and activities for the over 60s, from creating ceramic garden pots and pottery to Raku, puppetry, plays, sculpture and writing. With belly dancing or choreographing a dance or discussing history and making a patchwork quilt, there’s something arty for everyone. The emphasis is on trying out something new and creative but also to enjoy meeting like-minded local people. The organisers, Liz Weston and Louise Wildish, said the Arts Council funding will allow the successful project to continue, and point to the undeniable benefits arts programmes can have for the over 60s. “The project provides arts activities and learning opportunities for the older person and encourages partner organisations to develop their own arts projects. Involvement in the arts for older people increases confidence, good health, feelings of general well-being and stimulates conversation.” The funding benefits also feed back into the wider community, with many of the courses being led by leading regional artists. Growing Bolder outreach sessions will be held in day care centres, hospices and residential homes, so that less mobile and vulnerable over 60’s can access arts programmes. And an information toolkit will be developed to allow these partner organisations to develop arts activities in their centres. Mansfield also run a youth arts scheme: ArtBeat. For more information, CLICK HERE