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Local community groups celebrate funding windfall

Thursday, 9 March 2017

A LOCAL community group is celebrating after securing funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Lisnafin/Ardnalee/Trust Cross-Community Development Association in Strabane is one of 20 community-based arts projects for older people who have benefitted from the 160,000 round of funding.
It is using its allocation for a 'Strabane Memories in Ceramics' programme. The group will undertake eight two-hour classes in Lisnafin Community Centre working with 12 older people.
The group will create ceramic pieces which will reflect times gone by in their community. Participants will design and create their own pieces under the guidance of ceramic artist, Leona Devine.
"These pieces will then be exhibited giving the participants the opportunity to invite family and friends and the wider community, including local youth clubs so that local young people can hear and see a history of their local community. The exhibition itself will enhance a sense of community spirit," a spokesperson said.
Elsewhere, Derry City and Strabane District Council's Arts for the Third Age: Music to Your Ears programme has been allocated funding.
Based in the Alley Theatre delivering a popular programme of engaging events for participants both rural and urban, the project will engage older people in music making and song writing.
The Arts and Older People Programme provides opportunities for people to engage with the arts, promoting positive mental health and well-being and helping to tackle issues like loneliness and isolation affecting our older citizens. The programme of investment is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery fund and the Public Health Agency.
Lorraine Calderwood, community development officer at the Arts Council, explained how the Arts and Older People's Programme is continuing to making a huge difference to people's lives, saying: "The links between engagement in the arts and improved personal wellbeing are now well established. The Arts Council's Arts & Older People Programme has evidenced just how successful the arts are in making a positive impact on our older people.
"Indeed all of the organisations awarded funding to date, tackle isolation and social exclusion. With the help of artists these projects give a much needed voice to our older citizens through high quality arts interventions," she said.
The latest tranche of funding is focused on helping carers and those managing care workers to see the benefits of arts programming for older people. This year we are hosting an 'Art of Caring' Conference in April 2017 to highlight the evidence and good practice in this area."
The Arts and Older People's Programme is a pioneering, Northern Ireland-wide programme established in partnership initially with Atlantic Philanthropies and subsequently the Public Health Agency and the Baring Foundation.
The aim was to increase opportunities for older people to actively engage in the arts. It is about challenging perceptions of what it means to be an older person, providing opportunities to participate in a full range of creative activities.
The original Arts and Older People Programme was set up in 2010 to increase opportunities for older people to engage with the arts. Since then over 19,000 older people have participated in a variety of projects, from ceramics to dance and music.

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