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Creative Arts East: Our Day Out

Project evaluations

An evaluation report from Our Day Out, a participatory arts project which brought wellbeing and connection to people in Norfolk with dementia and long-term heath conditions.

In July 2016, Spirit of 2012 awarded Creative Arts East (CAE) a grant of £231,110 to fund Our Day Out (ODO) for three years, providing fortnightly dementia-inclusive music, dance and visual arts sessions for older people and their carers in rural Norfolk. The first three years was successful in increasing wellbeing and connection for people with dementias, and in 2019 CAE was awarded £199,904 Extended Impact funding to continue the project for a further three years, taking our investment in ODO to £431,038 over six years.

Spirit of 2012 funding for the programme ended in 2022, and an evaluation report was produced by Dr Hannah Zeilig and Millie van der Byl Williams which provides an overview of the main outcomes and unique features of the ODO project.


The evaluation found that ODO:

Encouraged the creativity of participants both in and out of the sessions, in whichever way suited them best. Participants reported that the sessions had “encouraged” and “inspired” them and given them a “push” to be more creative in their day-to-day lives. This offered a chance for participants to focus on something else and take a break from their other worries.

“I mean the week when we were doing, creative, making things, well you take your mind off yourself, which I find was a good thing. You’re not thinking about yourself.”

Increased wellbeing for participants. The average increase in individual wellbeing after 9-12 months of participation was 64%, and qualitative data evidenced increased wellbeing in diverse ways.

“I smile, I’m with people and I have a sense of agency that I can create things that are good for myself in life.”

Increased social connection for participants, including a sense of belonging in the groups. 97% of participants reported that they felt their involvement in the Our Day Out programme had helped them make social connections.

“You don’t feel so isolated especially if you meet people with the same illness yourself, or with the same problems…. like memory loss and arthritis and things like that.”

Has been inclusive of those living with different disabilities offering access to arts and culture.

“What was good was that we made lots of things up organically, you didn’t have to actually be a professional in order to benefit from the sessions.”

Researchers found the following key features of ODO helped it to be a success:

  • The focus on evaluating the programme to outline the underlying values of ODO and work collaboratively with key stakeholders including participants, artists and CAE staff, and disseminate findings from the programme.
  • Through successful outreach, ODO engages rural residents that many other arts and cultural organisations struggle to reach.
  • CAE’s commitment to working with professional artists and investing in their practice (through running training days, focus groups, and commissioning reports).

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