Cultural Creative Activities, Arts and Social Care - Suffolk

Final Version 24 June 2014
Cultural Creative Activities, Arts and Social Care - Suffolk
Arts and creativity is all around us, we often ‘breathe it in’ without noticing1, it is not only available
to people who belong to an exclusive club. Even people who declare that they don’t know anything
about art just don’t describe what they love or do as art. They may have a precious painting, print,
wood carving, photograph, poem, song, a hand-embroidered quilt, or they might feel emotion
through a play on television or radio. We therefore can appreciate the value of arts within our lives.
There is increasing recognition that integrating cultural creative activities within social care at any
stage of our lives, enabling people to have the chance to take part in the arts, brings positive
outcomes to all involved. This includes people who use social care and community services; staff
who work within social care or community services; family carers; the care business; artists, arts
organisations and volunteers.
Impact of creative activities on people who use care and community services and family carers
Creative activities contribute to improvements in the health and well-being of people who use social
care and community services. It provides people with the opportunity to continue with things they
have done before, building on what has been an important part of their lives, as well as the
opportunity to try something new. Benefits include:
Social interactions and a sense of inclusion, countering the common aspect of older age –
loneliness, isolation and depression2
Physical engagement which benefits motoric ability and coordination
Requires concentration which involves enjoyable focuses mental activity, imagination and
Continues to utilise manual dexterity and help guard against falls
A sense of achievement through participation
Expression of identities or something significant and personal
A new point of contact and something to talk about
Increased confidence
Family carers see the person they care for in happy circumstances where both have been
stimulated to enjoy communication and purposeful activity
For people with dementia, long term memory is awakened through familiar music. Singing
improves and maintains neurological pathways through deeper breathing and gentle
movement. It lifts / prevents depression; builds friendships; enables the expression of
emotion; and brings the seasons to life (when songs are about celebrations and festivals)3
Reminiscence work including stimulation of the senses through touch, feel and smell also
often stimulate memories
Impact of creative activities on care providers
Creative activities positively impacts on care providers through:
Increasing staff enjoyment of their work
Reducing sick days of staff
Creative Homes. How the Arts can contribute to quality of life in residential care, The Baring Foundation, The National Care Forum and
NAPA Living Life, 2011
2 Ibid. p4
Ibid. p 11
Final Version 24 June 2014
Reducing resource use, for example incontinence pads or sleeping medication
Produces the sustainable integration of creative activity and social care
Opportunities for CPD through learning new skills
Impact of creative activities on artists and arts organisations
There is considerable scope for development of the understanding of the impact on artists
and arts organisation (see Arts in Social Care - Skills for Care research 2013)
Impact of creative activities on commissioners of care services
Integration of creative activities and social care services will ensure commissioners that
providers are meeting the holistic health and well-being of people who use services and
family carers.
Development and use of community based activities will enhance people’s health and wellbeing preventing them from an early use of social care provision.
Linking cultural creative activities and the quality of care
In a report commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 20104, the Social Care Institute
for Excellence (SCIE) developed a definition of excellence for social care. They identified four
essential elements of excellence. Three relate to improvements in people’s lives as a result of using a
service, they include:1. Having choice and control over day-to-day significant life decisions
2. Maintaining good relationships with family, partners, friends, staff and others
3. Spending time purposefully and enjoyably doing things that bring people pleasure and
The fourth element relates to organisational and service factors which enable these three outcomes
to be achieved and sustained. It is:4. An excellent service support and enables people to engage in activities, pastimes and roles
which bring them pleasure and meaning and enhance their quality of life
These four elements are essential elements of a quality care service and interact with each other,
they do not stand alone.
Types of creative activities
The ‘Creative Homes report’ (2011)5 documents a variety of creative activities that have been
undertaken within social care or community settings. These include:
Animation. Creating a short animated film, giving people the opportunity to play a role,
express reminiscences and personalities, sharing experiences of family members and
learning about the process of film making.
Drama. Social history project exploring changing gender roles
Recognising Excellence in Social Care, SCIE, 2010 p24
Creative Homes. How the Arts can contribute to quality of life in residential care, The Baring Foundation, The National Care Forum and
NAPA Living Life, 2011
Final Version 24 June 2014
Storytelling. Story box containing props and costumes that suggest a specific story, location
or character including storytelling, music, mime and physical participation
Visits and speakers
Arts and crafts. Painting, card making, stone painting
Textiles. Sewing, knitting
Singing and Music. Involving gentle movements. Bell ringing and percussion sessions
Movement / Dance
Narratives. Book production and celebration tea dance
Intergenerational work. Students and people in residential homes making puppets together
and using these to help tell personal stories and aid with non-verbal communication which
can also incorporate mask work
Staging exhibitions, shows and performances
Events. Burns night, themed days
In January 2014 Suffolk County Council, Adult and Community Services Management Team made a
commitment to further the integration of creative activities and social care and community
provision. It supports the work of the Quality and Improvement Team, whose vision is to work in
partnership with over 600 social care providers in Suffolk to make improvements in the quality of
services provided. The Quality and Improvement Team is developing supportive relationships with
providers based on open communication and access to training and advice resources which includes
encouraging providers to bring creative activities into their social care provision.
The ACS Management Team also supports the work of the Culture, Sport and Communities Team in
continuing to actively improve the provision of creative activity within Suffolk.
Pilot Project
Since late 2013, Suffolk County Council’s Quality and Improvement Team and Culture, Sport and
Communities Team have been working with Age UK Suffolk and Leading Lives to bring creative
activity into social care and community provision in Suffolk. This collective seeks to include other
representative organisations within Suffolk.
We seek to progress our vision by developing a proposal for a pilot project, to apply for funding to
implement it, to make its success visible and replicable. Outcomes will include improvements in the
health and well-being of people and family carers using social care and community provisions;
replication, with identifiable adjustments as required; and effective use of resources to enable
We will begin by applying for funding for a pilot project in a specific location before making a larger
financial and geographical impact. The pilot project will focus on people with dementia, specifically
people with learning disabilities and early onset dementia. To initiate this project proposal, we will
commission a short mapping exercise to be completed by the end of September 2014. The mapping
exercise will be used to understand the current creative activities in Suffolk linked to social care or
community activity in a specific location (Ipswich); to highlight gaps in activity and to highlight good
practice. We will then be in a position to develop a detailed pilot proposal that will evidence need.