Age & Opportunity is delighted to be offering Changing Gears in Cork for free this April and May. Designed to boost wellbeing and resilience, it is a five-session in-person course funded by the HSE that focuses on managing transitions in mid to later life.
Changing Gears offers participants (aged 50+) time to:
Develop skills and techniques to build resilience and confidence in managing life-changes or transitions.
Reframe transitions in their lives as opportunities with positive options, challenging negative stereotypes about ageing.
The programme allows participants to reflect on challenges they have experienced in the past and life-lessons they have learned. In this way strategies for building resilience and managing change draw on personal experience to create a more positive and fulfilling future.
Sessions cover: Life Transitions (Up to Now); Building Resilience (Here and Now); and Mapping the future (Where to from Here).
Venue: The Metropole, Cork Dates: Thursdays 4, 11, 18 & 25 May & 1st June 2023
Times: 11 am – 1.00 pm
Please note that this programme has been funded by the HSE and is free of charge. Participation requires attendance at each of the five sessions (please do not book a place if you cannot attend on these dates).
Bookings will be made on a first come first served basis.
Artist Residencies to bring the benefits of arts participation to over 250 older people in care settings
Age & Opportunity is pleased to announce the six artists and care settings who will participate in their 2019 Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Settinginitiative. 2019 marks the third year of this project which aims to improve access to rich arts experiences for older people in care settings, many of whom are living with Dementia.
Research shows that people who engage with the arts benefit from a significant boost to their self-esteem and overall quality of life and that there is tremendous potential for participatory art to improve the quality of life for older people in general, as well as those older people who are most excluded including those with dementia . However, older people are not targeted as beneficiaries as much as they should be. As life expectancy improves so does the incidence of dementia. Presently there are over 55,000 people in Ireland living with the disease and another half a million people (mainly family members) who are directly affected by it.
These six residencies will bring the benefits of arts participation to up to 250 older people who either live in or visit care facilities and will also positively impact on over 500 people, when we include all those involved – residents, staff, families, artists, and the wider community.
Printmaker Aoife Barrett will invite residents at Raheen Community Hospital to participate in a series of conversations, bookmaking and printmaking activities to promote creativity, storytelling and the exchange of knowledge.
Visual artist John Conway aims to engage the service users of the Naas Day Care Centre over a cup of tea and simple art exercises. In doing so Conway aims to draw out the stories of their life experiences and document them for posterity as part of their project.
Photographer Brian Cooney aims to draw on the existing photography of the residents of St John’s Community Hospital in Sligo to help weave their personal stories. He will also make a new body of work that will be his personal response to his time in the care facility.
Based in the Clonskeagh Community Hospital in Dublin multimedia artist Cliona Ni Laoi will use projections to create immersive visual collages using light and sound. In turn this art project will feed into Cliona’s research about the therapeutic benefits of audiovisual installations in dementia care setting.
Multimedia artist Andy Parsons will be based in the Killybegs Community Hospital. Andy’s project will take as its starting point the wealth of craft skills of the people of Donegal. His project aims to record the hands of these people, capturing the ingenuity, resourcefulness and creativity of our older generation.
Using the mid-century buildings of Castleisland as a starting point visual artist Ciara Rodgers will engage the attendees of Castleisland Day Care Centre in a conversation about the history of the buildings in their area for a project in charcoal drawing.
Through funding provided by the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund, HSE National Lottery Funding (CHO areas 4 & 7), and the Arts Council, we have developed this initiative which aims to make arts intrinsic to life-in-care settings for older people, particularly those who live outside major urban areas.
Creativity and cultural participation are key contributors to wellbeing in older age. This project seeks to increase the awareness among policy makers, health and social care providers and the general public (including older people themselves) of the potential of participatory art to influence on the quality of life of older people in residential care, with positive impacts on health, psychological well-being and autonomy.
The residency initiative, creates an opportunity for the staff and older people living in or attending publicly-funded care settings to engage creatively with an artist in a nurturing and inclusive environment. It showcases the value of creative activity to the staff and broadens the base of skilled artists working in the area of arts and health.
Josepha Madigan: Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
I am delighted that Creative Ireland through its National Creativity Fund can support an important project like this which will actively improve the lives of some of our communities most vulnerable people.
Commenting on the residency programme, Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager with Age & Opportunity said:
Although access to the arts and creativity underpin this residency initiative, we know that the arts has a profoundly beneficial influence on our general quality of life and psychological well-being. The person-centred characteristics of the arts in particular, can take on a critical role in enhancing our sense of identity as we grow older, and possibly experience feelings of marginalization or invisibility arising from our age, health or social status.
Age & Opportunity gratefully acknowledges the support of our Arts programme funders, the Arts Council, the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund, and the HSE.
The artist residency initiative is also supported by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), Creative Life, Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre (DSIDC) both based in MISA, St. James’s Hospital. These partner organisations will offer their expert perspective on the artist residency steering group and provide mentoring and support during the programme.
If emailing your form it is not necessary to send a hard copy by post as well.
Please note, whether emailed or posted completed application forms must be received by 12 noon on Friday 27 September 2019.
Late applications will not be considered. It is the responsibility of grant applicants to ensure that grant forms are received on time with all details completed. Note that due to the volume of applications we cannot acknowledge receipt of postal applications.
First Group of Kerry Graduates from Course Designed to Enrich Lives of Older People Through Creativity
Creative Exchanges is a QQI accredited course for anyone leading creative activities with older people in care settings, and for those interested in working with older people
For the first time community volunteers also participated in the course
Twenty new activities coordinators today graduate from a training programme called Creative Exchanges. The Kerry-based participants took part in the training course which was organised by Age & Opportunity and commissioned by Cork Kerry Community Healthcare.
Creative Exchanges is a QQI accredited course for anyone leading creative activities with older people in care settings, and for those interested in working with older people. Participants develop the skills and confidence needed to plan and facilitate arts activities for older people in either residential or day care settings.
This is the first time that the training was offered in Kerry and the first time that community volunteers took part as well as those employed in care settings, helping us to enrich the lives of more older people through creative practice. This was made possible through funding from the Department of Health and Pobal and the HSE, as part of Kerry’s involvement in the Healthy Ireland plan.
During the programme, the graduates participated in practical workshops with artists working in care settings through music, dance, the visual arts or drama. Forty people completed the training, and the group included care workers, community volunteers, HSE staff and those interested in working with older people in care settings and community groups. The award is a QQI component award at Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Speaking at the presentation of Certificates in Manor West Hotel, Tralee, Ciarán McKinney, Age & Opportunity commented:
It is so important that those organising activities for older people are skilled and confident in being able to deliver interesting, varied, person-centred activities. These activities can have a direct impact on the quality of life of an older person in care, and in the community. We are delighted that through this collaborative partnership with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, we now have a network of skilled coordinators in Kerry and that through the involvement of community volunteers we are now reaching new communities. This collaboration with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is a wonderful example of how partnerships among the public and voluntary sectors can make a vital difference to supporting older people’s lives and we hope this will lead to further collaboration in the region.
This initiative will bring a whole new level of creativity into the lives of people in nursing homes and community groups in Kerry by providing the learning and development in relation to guiding creative activities in care settings. Mixing theory, regulations and practical creative work, participants will be able to bring their learning back to their own nursing home or community group, so that people can feel the benefits straight away.
Mairéad Hanlon, one of today’s graduates said:
Creative Exchanges enlightened me in relation to the stigma attached to ageing – just because you reach a certain age doesn’t mean you are written off. I think all health care workers – doctors and nurses as well as care assistants – should do a course like this.
Speaking at the graduation Hilary Scanlan, Community Work Manager Cork Kerry Healthcare, HSE commented:
The feedback from participants has been very positive, they have gained the skills and knowledge to enable them to deliver varied, innovative and creative programmes in their care settings and communities. Through this network of skilled coordinators in Kerry, we hope to support varied and stimulating programmes for older people’s groups and encourage active engagement in the community, promoting the vision of Healthy Ireland in the county.
Creative Exchanges was developed in 2013 by Age & Opportunity, the national organisation that inspires people aged 50+ to live a life in which they are more active, more visible, more creative and more connected. The need for such a programme was borne out of research which showed significant benefits for older people in care who have access to the arts.
The next course is scheduled to take place in the Autumn, in IMMA. For more details and information on how to apply click here.
Artist in Residence in a Care Setting – Call for Artists of all art forms – Deadline Extended to 16th August
Age & Opportunity has created an opportunity for care settings and older people living in or attending those settings to engage creatively with an artist over the course of a number of months. Age & Opportunity also wishes to offer an opportunity for an artist to develop their specific skills in relation to working in arts and health settings. In 2019, six artist residencies of this kind will be offered. The application process is two-part: care settings have applied and been selected for this unique opportunity based on an open competition and artists are now invited to apply for a residency in one of these specific care settings.
Please read the guidelines below carefully before completing the application form.
PLEASE NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY 16th AUGUST 2019.
This initiative aims to make arts and creativity intrinsic to life-in-care settings for older people, particularly those who live outside major urban areas and in hard-to-reach places. Applications are invited from publicly funded and not for profit care settings including day care, residential care and hospice care.
Please note that the deadline for CARE SETTINGS to apply for our Artist in Residence initiative is 28th June 2019.
Funding provided by the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund, HSE National Lottery Funding (CHO areas 4 & 7), and the Arts Council.
St. Patrick’s Festival and the Bealtaine Festival are delighted to announce its first ever joint event centring around a number of fun choral pop ups for all to get involved with this weekend.
On Saturday, take to the streets for Sing Out Loud, an inclusive, celebratory programme in partnership with Tesco finest*, with a choral trail featuring older persons and inter-generational choirs including The Forget Me Nots and Forever Young choirs, performing at Dublin’s most iconic landmarks sharing their stories though song. Click here for full details of the choirs performing.
Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival has been celebrating choral singing through its Dawn Chorus events since 2009, where choirs around the country are invited to sing outdoors, at a scenic location, on a morning in May. In 2019, for the first time, a Bealtaine Festival Choir will represent the festival at a number of events. This choir was selected by Age & Opportunity and Sing Ireland and embodies the spirit of the Bealtaine Festival and will preview their Dawn Chorus performance along with other favourites at this very special national St. Patrick’s Festival event.
Join the choral trail on Saturday for a fun pop up sing-a-long – bring the kids, the grandkids and Sing Out Loud with us! Or come along to the national Festival Parade on Sunday to get a flavour of the Dawn Chorus which promises to be an uplifting and joyful performance by the Bealtaine Festival Choir.
The Bealtaine Festival Dawn Chorus will take place in Co. Carlow, by the River Barrow in the town park on Sunday 5th of May at 6am – if you are in the area, come and join us to herald the day with song!
Artist in Residence in Care Setting to provide increased access to the arts for older people.
5 new residencies to take place across the country in 2019
Initiative will reach up to 250 older people who don’t have easy access to arts
Research shows significant benefits for older people in care with access to the arts
Age & Opportunity, the national development organisation for active and engaged ageing today announced the expansion of their Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting, with five additional residencies to take place across the country during 2019.
Through funding provided by the Creative Ireland National Creativity Fund, Age & Opportunity will develop a programme of nationwide artists’ residencies in care settings, one in each province. These aim to make arts and creativity intrinsic to life-in-care settings for older people, particularly those who live outside major urban areas and in hard-to-reach areas. Each residency has approximately 30- 50 residents so it’s estimated that the expansion of this initiative will result in increased arts participation for up to 250 older people in care settings.
Creativity and cultural participation are key contributors to wellbeing in older age. Research has shown that arts programmes have a profound influence on the quality of life of older people in residential care, with positive impacts on health, psychological well-being and autonomy.
The Age & Opportunity Artist(s) in Residence in a Care Setting initiative, now in its third year, creates an opportunity for the staff and residents of a publicly-funded care setting to engage creatively with an artist, allowing them to realise their full creative potential in a nurturing and inclusive environment. The residency places an artist in a care setting for a sustained period of time allowing for a deep engagement between the artist and older residents to take place. It showcases the value of creative activity to the staff and broadens the base of skilled artists working in the area of arts and health.
Commenting on the launch Dr. Tara Byrne, Manager of Age & Opportunity ARTS & Bealtaine Festival Director said: “Through the residency initiative we hope to foster an understanding of the value of creative activity, particularly in a care setting, and demonstrate and celebrate the positive impact of ageing creatively. Through our mentoring and support we will facilitate both care staff and the artists to gain more confidence and acquire new skills in the area of arts and health, and to share and practice them with residents. We also hope to push the boundaries in relation to opportunities for activity, creativity and visibility of older people in Ireland, a key objective in Age & Opportunity’s new Strategic Plan 2018-2020.”
Karen Smyth, CEO of Age & Opportunity said: “The presence of an artist in a care home setting is an invaluable addition to the quality of life of the residents and gives those older people the opportunity to access arts activities as their independent peers do. This represents another first for Age & Opportunity’s arts programme, and builds on our ongoing programme of engagement with care settings. We know from our work in this area that arts activities can have a direct impact on the quality of life of an older person in care, and in the community. We are delighted that Age & Opportunity will reach new groups through the funding provided by the Creative Ireland creativity fund, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas.”
The artist residency initiative is also supported by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) and Mercer’s Institute for Creative Ageing (MISA), based in St. James’ Hospital. These partner organisations will offer their expert perspective on the steering group and provide mentoring and support during the programme.
Age & Opportunity are now inviting care settings to apply for this exciting opportunity, with submissions due by 28th June 2019. This will be followed by a call out for artists later in the year.
Age & Opportunity gratefully acknowledges the support of our arts programme funders, the Arts Council, the Creative Ireland National Creativity Fund, and the HSE.
Sports grants of €300,000 to get more older people active
Grants awarded to clubs nationwide in the promotion of activity in older people
€5.7m awarded to date by the National Grant Scheme
1,028 grants allocated under 2018 programme
30,000 older people to benefit from investment
The ‘Go for Life’ National Grant Scheme is today (November 28th) celebrating a momentous allocation of funding for sporting activities in older age-groups.
The grants scheme, a combined initiative from Age & Opportunity and Sport Ireland, will distribute almost €300,000 across 1,028 groups.
Today’s allocation brings the total grants allocated over the last 18 years to over 14,000 and the total fund allocated to date is €5.7 million.
The National Grant Scheme is widely recognised for its positive endeavours and encouragement of activity among older people. Brendan Griffin, Minister of State with responsibility for Sport, said the funding has not only supported older people, but empowered their age group to get more active more often.
“These allocations enable groups across Ireland to achieve activity goals for thousands of older people,” he said. “Programmes like ‘Go for Life’ are a great way to bring the National Physical Activity Plan into people’s lives. They provide an accessible and enjoyable means for older people in communities nationwide to reap the health rewards from doing physical activity. I am delighted to see that almost €300,000 has been allocated by Sport Ireland to the Go for Life grants to over one thousand groups this year. This means that 30,000 older people will take part in sport and physical activity as a direct result of this grant scheme. This scheme is a wonderful way of promoting increased participation for older people.”
Speaking at the launch, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, said the ‘Go for Life’ initiative continues to power ahead as a valuable resource in getting more older people active.
We never cease to be amazed by the popularity and enthusiasm for the ‘Go for Life’ programme,” he said. “Sport Ireland, along with our partner Age & Opportunity work tirelessly to deliver opportunities and grants to as many deserving clubs and groups as is possible. There has never been a greater focus on being active and understanding the benefit of keeping fit, and ‘Go for Life’ is indicative of that appetite in older age-groups.
The number of people who will take part in activities funded by the 2018 grant scheme is over 30,000. The investment provided by the grant will be subsidised by over 77% of groups and participants. The number of grants allocated exceeds 1000 for the sixth time and the percentage of successful applicants is 92%.
Karen Smyth, CEO of Age & Opportunity, said today’s funding was an important milestone in keeping older age groups healthy and active. She said the allocation of grants ensured clubs and groups from all walks of life could benefit from the scheme
This year, 309 successful applications were from designated disadvantaged areas and 96 were from applicants who had not previously received a grant” she said.
We are delighted to work on this in partnership with Sport Ireland and long may this collaboration continue. Age & Opportunity puts the value that older people bring to our society at the top of its agenda, and today’s announcement is further evidence of paying tribute to older generation.”
Of today’s successful funding allocations, 205 grants were awarded to Active Retirement Associations, 268 grants were awarded to Irish Countrywomen’s Associations and 23 applications were made by Local Sports Partnerships.
Other funding allocations included: 24 Mens Sheds’ groups; seven Rehab Care groups; 11 Arthritis Ireland initiatives; 10 Irish Wheelchair Association groups; and activities for 32 Family Resource Centres.
The Grant Scheme demonstrates the wide scope and ambition of Ireland’s older generations where keeping healthy and active is concerned. Zumba, Salsa dancing, rowing, Aqua Aerobics, Pilates and Tai Chi are just some of the activities the grant will fund.
The Grant Scheme is part of Age & Opportunity’s ‘Go for Life’ programme, funded by Sport Ireland, and delivered nationwide with the support of Local Sports Partnerships and the HSE.
Older People With Intellectual Disabilities Get Active
Over fifty older people with intellectual disabilities take part in a leisure games tournament which celebrates empowering people to be leaders and get active.
Older people with intellectual disabilities met today (Friday 30th November) in Trinity College Dublin to celebrate the culmination of a year-long physical activity leadership project, PPALs.
The PPALs project is about empowering people with intellectual disabilities to make their communities healthier by becoming Physical Activity Leaders. Participants developed the skills and confidence needed to lead weekly sports and activity sessions. This saw participants take charge of activity sessions for their friends, their peers and staff in order to get everyone more active.
The sports day involved a range of games between teams of people training by the PPALs. The leaders were presented with their Certificates of Completion by the Minister for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne, TD and Ireland Rugby fullback Rob Kearney.
PPALs is based on Age & Opportunity’s Go for Life model and is a joint project between Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability (TCAID), Age & Opportunity and the University of Barcelona. Funded by the European Union’s EIT-Health programme, the project co-designed easy read training material with people with intellectual disabilities to ensure that training sessions and materials used were accessible, effective and useful, while still keeping the fun and spirit of the Go for Life model.
Speaking at the Games, the Minister for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne, said:
I’m delighted to celebrate the achievements of this fantastic group of our older citizens in completing the P-PALS programme and participating in the P-PALS games today. Under Healthy Ireland, we want to encourage and support everyone to be more active, particularly older people with intellectual disabilities, whose enthusiasm and energy here today is a lesson to us all.
Being physically inactive is one of the leading risk factors for health and under the National Physical Activity Plan we want to make exercise a normal part of everyday life, and give people of all ages more opportunities to be active in their communities.
Partnerships like this one between Trinity and Age & Opportunity are very important in reaching out to groups we might not otherwise get to connect with and support. Everyone deserves the chance to be active and improve their health and wellbeing, and today’s event is a testament to this”.