Older people in Tyrone are to share in £144,000 of arts funding to tackle loneliness in the community.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced National Lottery funding and public funding from the Public Health Agency and Baring Foundation of over £144,000, for 19 organisations across the region - including BEAM Creative Network, Donaghmore - to deliver community-based arts projects benefitting older people.
The funding is part of the Arts Council’s Arts and Older People’s Programme, a pioneering initiative which aims to promote positive mental health and well-being among older people through engagement with the arts whilst tackling issues of loneliness and isolation.
The Arts and Older People’s Programme was established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2010 and is now a cross-governmental partnership with funding from the Public Health Agency and The Baring Foundation.
To date the programme has provided £1.8m funding to community organisations and voluntary groups across Northern Ireland in the delivery of 156 arts projects to older people. The programme has been designed to challenge perceptions of what it means to be an older person.
Lorraine Calderwood, Community Development Officer at the Arts Council Northern Ireland, said: “Research has proven that engagement with the arts can raise self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as-well as aid in relieving stress, worries and also pain.
The Arts and Older People’s Programme is committed to providing meaningful opportunities for our older people to take part in arts activities, enriching their lives for the better.
The arts have a vital role to play in helping older people find their voice and express the issues which can often affect them on a day-to-day basis, thus promoting positive physical and mental health.