CREATIVE CONNECTIONS – UPDATE

Creative Connections, is funded by the Colyer Ferguson Family Trust and aims to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable, lonely older people, encouraging continued independence through creative activities and increased digital inclusion.The project is led by Espression Arts with support from Kent Arts and Wellbeing.

 

The  approach to wellbeing and creativity reflects NICE (NG32) best practice for promoting mental wellbeing, and the Age UK Wellbeing Index in Later Life, identifying creative and cultural activity as the most important determinant of wellbeing. We will therefore
1. Expand our support network for people at risk of deterioration in mental wellbeing.
2. Involve individuals at risk, in developing relevant creative activities, that will
a. meet their situation and needs
b. engage them in rewarding, fun activities, at times to suit them.
c. help them feel confident, reassured, connected to people who empathise with their struggles and issues.
d. help create sustainable, positive peer support networks and avoid escalation of problems.
3. Understand the broader context of loneliness in our communities. Its links with mental health and significant life events, to be able to focus more effectively in future.
4. Develop digital capability to enable older isolated people develop and sustain connections with friends and families

The project is a continuation of existing activities and we want to continue to focus on older people, in sheltered accommodation (Lang Court, Whitgift Court and a new setting to be agreed) . Without the support that is available in residential care they have been particularly disadvantaged by the pandemic. We  also  want to focus on the 8% of older people experiencing high levels of loneliness. often without support networks , and where wanted to provide  1:1 coaching to alleviate digital exclusion and reduce social isolation.

.We aim to engage with 105 beneficiaries and meet project objectives by

The positive outcomes we aim to achieve are that

• Service users will realise

We want  to provide sustainable benefits:
1. The confidence gained and skills developed by participants are sustainable leading to longer term capacity to deal with future challenging events.
2. A more positive coping attitude from participants both in sheltered housing and the community to take part and have a go
3. Enduring close personal support networks, and social media groups
4. A community capability to support older people to become comfortable with digital communications to improve their social networks
5. Learning the extent to which IT outreach can supplement face to face support, its impact on running costs and home working; and its ability to extend service provision hours to meet individual needs.
6. An enhanced community capability with a significant cohort of volunteers, who have already demonstrated their durability, who can work effectively both online and face to face with an increased service user base
7. Shared learning through report, and video to generate future funding and partnerships.
8. The potential to use the learning to engage in wider community collaboration with other partners both locally and more widely in Kent.
9. Raised awareness and education around issues of loneliness and mental health

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Project Funders

Colyer Ferguson Family Trust

Posted On: April 10th, 2022