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Family Arts Campaign’s Age-Friendly Standards

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Oldham Coliseum Theatre is one of the first national organisations to adopt the Family Arts Campaign’s Age-Friendly Standards. 

Family Arts Campaign’s Age-Friendly Standards were developed in consultation with leading experts including Age UK, 170 arts and cultural organisations, and older arts attenders.

The Age-Friendly Standards provide specific guidance on welcoming older people and displaying this new kite-mark affirms that the organisation has considered the often more complex needs of older visitors.

Oldham Coliseum Theatre prides itself on its exemplary welcome for older members of the community through its programme and its facilities.  The theatre has a multi-generational staff team, age-friendly volunteering opportunities and gives a warm welcome to older audiences, has very popular matinee performances and a well attended Full Circle participatory programme for people aged 55+. The theatre is also developing dementia friendly performances and activities.

Older people are valued as audiences, participant, visitors, and volunteers. These Standards send a clear message that they are a priority the Coliseum.

The development of the Age-Friendly Standards is a response to reported trends which indicated a significant drop-off in cultural engagement in later life, due to multiple barriers which older people may encounter.

The significant opportunity for arts and culture to play a role in enhancing quality of life for older people is further reflected in Age UK’s 2017 Index of Wellbeing in Later Life[1] which reports ‘Creative and cultural participation’ to be the most prominent indicator to wellbeing in later life, scoring highest amongst a large range of contributing factors.

The Age Friendly Standards address five key areas when welcoming older audiences:

  1. Building relationships
  2. Considering suitable programming
  3. Providing appropriate facilities
  4. Communicating appropriately
  5. Providing a warm welcome

Kevin Shaw, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, commented:

We’re delighted to be one of the pioneering organisations, supported by Arts Council England, to achieve Age-Friendly Standards as the project launches.  This accolade pays testament to the Coliseum’s board, staff and volunteers’ absolute commitment to be welcoming to all sections of the community, including older people, and putting their needs first.

We’re especially pleased that our recent partnership project with the Senior Citizens’ Health Club at Pakistani Community Centre, Glodwick; Housing and Care 21 and New Charter Group, and The University of Manchester has been celebrated in an Age-Friendly Standards’ national case study.

“Ageing, Objects and Wellbeing” brought different communities together to share their experiences of ‘home’.  Celebrated nationally as an example of good practice, this project demonstrated how sharing different experiences of ageing and memories can help support social cohesion and cross-cultural understanding.  It’s been one of the highlights of our year.”

 

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The development of the Age-Friendly Standards was supported by Arts Council England.

[1] http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/For-professionals/Research/AgeUK-Wellbeing-Index-Summary-web.pdf?dtrk=true