Spirit of 2012 today announces extended funding for Creative Arts East’s Our Day Out across parts of rural Norfolk.

Our Day Out is a unique, fortnightly programme of dementia-friendly, inclusive and interactive music and movement workshops. It gives older people living with dementias and their family, friends and carers a welcoming and warm environment in which to participate in a wide range of music and dance activities, showcase their creativity and make new friends.

“We know that for people living with dementias, and those that care for them on a day-to-day basis, it can be all too easy to become isolated and lose touch with the things that make life fun, like making music and dancing,” says Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012. “We are delighted to be able to support Creative Arts East to deliver this ground-breaking project in communities across Norfolk for a further three years. We have already seen the impact it is having on participants’ wellbeing and are excited to continue to explore the profound impact that the arts can have for older people.”

Spirit announces its new award of £199, 904 at a special celebration event in Norwich today, which marks the culmination of its first three years of funding. The ‘Strictly’ dance celebration brings together groups from Attleborough, Dereham, North Walsham, Thetford, Watton and Well-next-the Sea, to perform dance numbers inspired by the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show with Samantha Moss.

The new Spirit funding will be used by Creative Arts East to continue the Our Day Out programme in all six of the current locations and, alongside investment by the National Lottery Community Fund, will set up two new West Norfolk groups in Downham Market and Hunstanton from September 2019. The Earl of Northampton’s Charity, Norfolk County Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk are also making their own awards towards continuing the ground-breaking programme.

“The Board and team at Creative Arts East are thrilled to be able to continue this important work for some of our county’s most vulnerable residents,” says Natalie Jode, Executive Director, Creative Arts East. “The Our Day Out programme was initiated by Breckland Council in response to the increasing rates of dementia diagnosis in the area and we at CAE are proud to have worked alongside this and other councils and funders to have developed the programme and secured it for the coming three years.”

Evaluation results from the last three years of the programme show significant positive impact on the wellbeing of participants. Most notably Professor Camic of Canterbury Christchurch University found that subjective wellbeing – how people feel about themselves and their life – for Our Day Out participants is improved and maintained over multiple session interactions.

Further, thanks to research by Dr Zeilig, University of the Arts London, we know that 81% of participants report that these activities have helped them feel better about themselves and 88% feel their involvement has helped them to have a shared positive experience. 97% of participants say they feel their involvement in the programme has helped them to make better social connections.

One participant said: “This helps with my mental health. I’ve been inside all day and this makes me go out and I feel happy after every session.”

Our Day Out was recently shortlisted in the Arts and Health category of the Royal Society for Public Health’s prestigious Health and Wellbeing Awards, in recognition of its achievements in health promotion and community wellbeing – the winner of the award will be announced on 17 October.

Futher information

To read more about the project, click here.

To find out more about the programme and to book a place at one of the coming workshops contact Creative Arts East on 01953713390 or go to www.creativeartseast.co.uk