Art On Your Doorstep was a 2-year action research project using innovative ways to increase the participation rates of people aged over 75 in both our ‘ON Tour’ and Courthouse creative programmes.
Activities took place at the Courthouse in Thirsk, North Yorkshire and within a 10-mile rural catchment area in Hambleton District. We worked from the grassroots up, testing and delivering a range of creative interventions. The outcomes of this project were used to influence commissioners to develop a model of delivering ‘Arts and Culture – On Prescription’ by embedding it in clinical healthcare plans.
Rural arts provided through the project 1 to 1 sessions, which brought artists to older people so they could enjoy a series of creative sessions within their own homes, helping them overcome the barriers they may face when taking part in arts activities.
The Art Café is hosted once a month on a Thursday between 10.30am – 11.30am. Up to 25 people have attended at one time who come to enjoy an hour of creativity activity and a cup of tea in the relaxed, social atmosphere of The Courthouse in Thirsk. Activities included painted birdhouses, pressed flower suncatchers, painted pebbles, festive stars and decorations, seascapes and much more.
In a number of different village halls around Thirsk, we offered a monthly programme of 1.5 to 2 hour group sessions of creative activities delivered by professional artists, sessions included pottery, painting, mosaics, print-making and many more.
Free transport was available throughout the project through our partner, Thirsk Community Care and through our partnership we were able to provide a Creative Supported Shopping Service, where musicians joined the group on the bus inviting them to sing along to live music.
Comments from participants of Art On Your Doorstep’s focus group:
“I have happier thoughts, and have something to look forward to; I like being appreciated. I am more motivated to get out and about. My greatest joy is sharing my love for music. I am feeling more involved, with Rural Arts, with the village and with my daughter and am feeling better about life, especially in the last few weeks.” Norman, aged 96.
“Rural Arts has provided me with the opportunity and inspiration to find a direction for my fledgling art interest. Advancing years, 84, and now living alone means it is sometimes difficult to develop new contacts and interests. At Rural Arts I have been able to sample a wide variety of art disciplines in very friendly and stimulating surroundings to the point where I now have greater confidence to explore and pursue new experiences. The future is still exciting!” Geoffrey, aged 84