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New research findings support the role of arts in care homes

Date published: 13/03/2018

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A new pioneering research project has been undertaken by Essex County Council’s Cultural Development Team and Anglia Ruskin University with the Older People’s Research Group, Essex to explore the important role of the arts in strengthening social and caring relationships in care homes with funding of £125,000 from Arts Council England.

So far the ‘Creative Journeys’ research has been undertaken in three care homes across Essex with activities delivered by leading cultural organisations, Age Exchange, Magic Me, Green Candle Dance Company and Orchestras Live with Sinfonia Viva.

On Monday 5th March, Essex County Council and Anglia Ruskin University unveiled the interim research findings for the project at the Essex Record Office.

The interim event featured presentations from the cultural organisations involved as well as Anglia Ruskin University who presented the research outcomes so far.

Professor Carol Munn-Giddings and Dr Hilary Bungay who are leading the research team at Anglia Ruskin University said “The early findings indicate that arts activities impact very positively on relationships between care home residents and staff, and between residents themselves; thereby reducing social isolation and promoting wellbeing.

Importantly the arts have unique qualities that enable residents to express themselves and make meaningful contributions to their relationships in care settings. Effective support and appropriate funding is essential for the sustainability of these impacts.”

This research forms part of a wider ‘Creative Journeys’ project which includes various arts and cultural activities in care homes and day care settings.

Cllr Susan Barker, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Community and Customer said, “Introducing arts and culture in care homes provides a wealth of benefits to residents and carers, I am delighted that we are able to facilitate this research through funding from the Arts Council and that Essex County Council has been able support the cultural activity and organisations”.

“I have seen the results from two of the projects which are taking place in Brentwood and Rochford. I recently attended a celebration event for the project held at Waterman’s Primary School, where the residents spoke about how they enjoyed working with the children to create short animation films. We are proud to work closely with cultural organisations in Essex who deliver valuable work in our communities, and I look forward to hearing about the research findings uncovered by the
project so far.”

For more information about the project, contact Emma.Hall@essex.gov.uk.