Paul spoke to Marcus at the start of Ageing Creatively and catches up now to see how it is going now and what is new.

Ageing Creatively

The Corn Exchange Newbury  received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund which has enabled it to begin the next five year stage of its Ageing Creatively programme of work, supporting older people across the Berkshire area.

The first stage of the Ageing Creatively programme ran from 2016-19 and supported the needs of older adults through accessible arts and culture projects.

The Ageing Creatively programme delivers a huge array of creative workshops, classes and courses specifically tailored to the over 55s.

It saw regular workshops and classes taking place from the Corn Exchange and its Learning Centre, including sessions for those living with dementia or Parkinson’s, and also saw partnership work with care home settings.

This new funding will establish a 5 year programme of work and leave a legacy of creative engagement for older people, particularly those who are rurally or socially isolated.

Led by the Corn Exchange’s Engagement Manager Hannah Elder, a new team dedicated to this area of work has been appointed as a result of this funding.

Marcus Lilley works  in establishing the needs and wants of rural areas to deliver activities tailored for each specific community.

Alongside projects based in rural areas and care settings, the Corn Exchange also hosts Ageing Creatively workshops and courses in its Learning Centre on the Market Place in Newbury. 

From the autumn, there will be a range of workshops and courses for older people covering activities such as singing, writing, dance, arts and crafts, exercise, and the Touch to See group for those with visual impairments returns.

Katy Griffiths, Director of the Corn Exchange Newbury, says ‘We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for their support of this programme of work with their grant of nearly £339,000 over the 5 year programme.

It is proven that taking part in arts and cultural activities on a regular, long term basis helps improve the mental well-being of older people.

Ageing Creatively increases access to creative activities for older adults, ensuring the community stays creative, engaged and active in order to continue to live healthy independent lives.

The aim is to reduce social isolation and loneliness, and to encourage learning and participating for overall good health.’

Hannah Elder, Engagement Manager, says

‘We are reminded daily of the impact that engaging with the oldest in our community has on their wellbeing.

We see the smiles in our Memory Cafe morning and the concentration on the faces of those attending Afternoon Art.

From encouraging self-worth to providing something to look forward to, the programme is varied and responsive to the people it aims to serve.

We hope to see this impact continue for our ageing community over the next 5 years, and to play a real part locally in championing arts for health and well-being among our elders.

A participant summed it up quite simply:

“Thank you for helping me to remember that I am important. I should focus on me too.”’

Ageing Creatively Silk painting
Get creative this Autumn with the Corn Exchange's 'Ageing Creatively' programme and join in with their 7 week Pangbourne Art Club run by professional artist Helen Mortimer. Starting with a medium called ‘Brusho’, followed by urban sketching with artist Isabel Carmona using pen and watercolours and then for the remaining 4 weeks we will be focusing on the beautiful medium of silk painting
ageing creatively
A gentle yoga class focusing on breath, strength and mobility. Yoga is great way to look after your mind and body, with many benefits to aid ageing in health.
ageing creatively
Join them on a whistle stop tour full of general art tips and techniques, covering a wide range of subjects that will leave you with the ability and confidence to tackle just about anything! With artist and illustrator Simon Jardine.
ageing creatively
Explore the arts and crafts of cultures around the world and master them yourselves in their weekly World Crafts workshops with artist Mandy Allport. New to the UK? Come along with your own country's crafts and share them too.
ageing creatively
Join them in the Balcony Bar for a social sewing, knitting, or crocheting session. They will have some simple projects available or bring whatever you are currently working on.
ageing creatively
This Is Me is a visual art project taking place in various settings in West Berkshire. Corn Exchange, Newbury supports people to explore different art mediums and create pieces of art reflecting their individuality.
ageing creatively
Our Song is a music project which explores singing, percussion, instruments and movement. It supports people in various settings with a variety of needs to gain access to the benefits that music can bring to their general wellbeing.
ageing creatively
Join them for Coffee Companions, every Monday morning in their Café Bar! Coffee Companions sessions are for people to come along for friendly conversations with fellow café-goers and members of the Corn Exchange team, and to maybe make a new friend. Drop by for a drink or snack and grab a 'Chat Mat'. These Chat Mats will show ‘Say Hello’ or ‘Not Today’ messaging that will let others in the Café know whether they are open to having a chat or would rather enjoy their privacy on that occasion. For those who display a ‘Say Hello’ mat, these free sessions present a great opportunity for you to enjoy new company and friendly conversation. Their Café Bar offers a wide selection of hot and cold drinks, as well as seasonal treats provided in collaboration with local caterers. Coffee Companions is a nationwide social enterprise that offers people sat in coffee shops anywhere the opportunity to strike up a friendly conversation and get to know new people
ageing creatively
Join them for their new Cinema Club, where you can enjoy a screening in our cinema before coming together to talk about it with fellow film fans. Taking place on the second Monday of every month and presented as part of their Creatively programme, join fellow film lovers aged 55+ for a screening in their independent cinema, then discuss your thoughts in a friendly, guided review session in our Café & Bar. Your Cinema Club ticket will cost £8 and includes a cup of tea or coffee and a tasty sandwich lunch to help fuel the conversation! To book your ticket for the Cinema Club for The Lost King on Monday 10 October please call our Box Office on 01635 522733 or drop into the Corn Exchange and book with a member of their team. Prebooking for our Cinema Club is advised. Sandwiches will be ordered on arrival at the Corn Exchange, so please allow some time to order before the screening starts.
Ageing Creatively
Guest Blog from Marcus Lilley
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