Creativity in Care Nine Lives

Creativity in Care logo
all-abilities & intergenerational community performance in Invergordon

Aims and objectives
People’s Health Trust addresses social determinants of health as described by the WHO, by supporting projects that increase collective control and build social links and ties. Encouraging collective control is described by the WHO as a wider social determinant of health. Giving local communities greater control to determine what happens in their neighbourhood bring about better outcomes locally, stronger social connections and self-respect: all highly correlated with wellbeing. The arts are often seen as a powerful vehicle through which collective control can be exercised and social connections can be made.
Nine Lives was an arts based project, funded through People’s Health Trust’s Active Communities programme. Active Communities is an open grants programme that funds people-led projects, addressing issues and demands identified by communities to make their areas fairer places to live, grow, work and age.

The main aims of the project were to use intergenerational community workshops to tackle low self-esteem and isolation among older residents, people living with a range of disabilities and people with mental health issues. Nine Lives aimed to use craft sessions and drama performances to build the participants’ confidence, improve social inclusion and wellbeing and enable collective control to develop through regular participation. The project also aimed to help local people to explore their identities and come together to shape the project performance.

Funding Sources
Creativity in Care received a grant of £23,580 in 2014 as part of People’s Health Trust Active Communities programme. The project was designed and delivered by Creativity in Care.

Timescale and delivery dates
The project ran from 16th December 2014 to 15th January 2016, and comprised of regular activity workshops and a community performance.

Creativity in Care are based in Alness and deliver learning programmes, workshops and events to increase social inclusion and wellbeing in the local community. The Nine Lives project built upon previous community arts and creative work.

Location and setting
The project was delivered in the area of Alness and Invergordon in Scotland. The venues for the project sessions were based in community centres and churches; Birchwood Highland, Invergordon; St Ninian's Church Hall, Invergordon and Westend Community Centre; Firhill, Alness. The project was delivered in the postcode areas of IV18 0DR, IV18 0JZ and IV17.

Description of the arts activity

Artistic approach and medium
The Creativity in Care Nine Lives project delivered a range of artistic activities, including poetry, puppetry, crafts and performances and local history sessions.

Participant engagement
There were 42 people in the performance, aged between 5 and 90, and overall 150 people participated, with 35 attending regularly. Participants came from local care homes, support services and the wider community. Participants were initially engaged through pilot workshops and were able to develop collective control and influence the design of the project by choosing the most popular activities.

Details of the project participants

Target population
The target participants are categorised by People’s Health Trust as a community of place, as they are local residents living in the same designated fundable neighbourhoods. These are neighbourhoods within the bottom 30% most disadvantaged, according to the IMD, and 90% of project participants are required to live in these areas.

The project worked with care home residents, school children, and general public in the Alness and Invergordon area. The project was designed to be intergenerational and dementia friendly. The project was open to all ethnicities and ages raged from young children to the over 65s.

Method of recruitment/referral
Participants were recruited through leafleting and engagement with local care homes and schools, friendship groups, churches and housing associations. Local residents were able to engage with the steering group and volunteers to shape the design and delivery of the project.

Project management

Roles and responsibilities
The project managed by a part-time project manager, facilitators, two part-time volunteers and local artists. A steering group of 8 participants were involved in decisions about which activities would be included in the programme, and provided feedback on sessions throughout the project.

Quality assurance
Assuring the quality of funded projects is an inherent feature of the project. The organisation was actively encouraged to self-reflect through their progress reports. In addition, local residents being involved in the direction of the initiative was a critical part of the quality control in that local people were in control and able to direct the group’s aim towards for the genuine benefit of the residents of the neighbourhood.

Costs to participants
There was no cost to participants.

Ethics and consent
Research to produce a case study of the project was undertaken by Ecorys, and commissioned by People’s Health Trust. Ecorys is a professional research organisation with comprehensive ethics procedures and informed consent was gathered from all participants. Creativity in Care has additionally given consent for this information to be shared with the APPG group.

Evaluation methods and findings

The group submitted 6 monthly progress and end of funding reports to People’s Health Trust, reporting on progress and reflecting on the impact of the project on participant’s wellbeing and engagement. An evaluation of the project was undertaken by Ecorys, focussing on the development of collective control and strengthening of social links and ties. The project was also assessed through a feedback session after the final performance, and with participation evaluation forms.

The feedback was very positive, including 77% of participants reporting improved self-esteem, 57% reporting increasing their social network and 70% feeling more active in their community.
The project has increased the social links and ties of participants, and strengthened connections within the community. The activities brought together a diverse and intergenerational group and helped to build the confidence of participants, by meeting new people, developing new skills and taking part in the performance. The participant evaluation forms reported that by the end of the project 78% of participants felt more connected to others in their community, and 75% felt they had increased the amount they support others.

Older participants particularly enjoyed engaging with younger people in the community and new friendships have continued outside of the project. "I've been isolated for a long time. This is such a great thing to have happened to me" (Participant).
By providing opportunities for local people to work together to shape the design and delivery of activities and the performance, and engaging with a diverse group of people, collective control was developed. The steering group took part in a more formal way in the design and delivery of the project, and all participants were able to shape delivery giving regular feedback and relflections.

Enabling collective control to develop, and participants to strengthen and widen their social connections, participants were able to increase their self-esteem, independence and confidence. This addresses the social determinants of health, as described by WHO, which contribute to reducing health inequalities.

Published/unpublished reports on the project
Ecorys Active Communities evaluation case study for People’s Health Trust.
End of funding reports and six monthly progress reports were supplied to People’s Health Trust.

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England