How care providers have used the arts to stay connected during Covid-19

National Day of Arts In Care Homes 2020

Arts in Care Homes, an initiative by the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), announces the National Day of Arts in Care Homes on 24 September 2020 and this year’s theme #CreativeCommunities.

We will be celebrating the contribution arts and creative participation play in enhancing quality of life for people living in care homes. We are also celebrating the carers, activity specialists, creative and cultural organisations who make it possible. We are inviting everyone to share stories about arts and creative activities in the care home environment and, where there is capacity, for care homes to plan and deliver activities on the day.

Across the UK and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had such a tragic and devastating impact on residents and staff in the care home community, carers and activity specialists have continued to run creative and cultural programmes with their residents. As lockdown eases, care home residents and staff must not be forgotten, and we want to use this opportunity to share their positive stories.

“We know how badly Covid-19 has affected those who live and work in care homes. The National Day of Arts in Care Homes provides us with an ideal opportunity to share examples of how the arts have enabled us to stay connected with loved ones and members of our local communities…”

Hilary Woodhead, NAPA Executive Director

“Creative participation can contribute to a longer, happier, healthier life. It can help to amplify the voices of older people and enhance their contribution to society. It can help to overcome negative stereotypes and reduce our fear of ageing.”

Older and Wiser? Creative Aging in the UK 2010 – 2019*
National Day of Arts In Care Homes 2020


We believe arts and creativity can enhance health and happiness for residents and staff, it helps counteract social isolation and is a focus outside of day-to-day care. It also supports good mental health and enables residents to continue to develop skills throughout their lives. Through helping to establish creative communities both in individual care homes and as a network across the UK, we believe we can help deliver the benefits participation in the arts offers to the care sector.

Our partners will include:

The Southbank Centre will collaborate with a Nightingale Hammerson care home for a one-off edition of Everyday Heroes; a public outdoor art and poetry exhibition on the Southbank celebrating the contribution of keyworkers during the Covid-19 crisis. This is part of an on-going partnership for Art By Post. Nightingale House will also be holding their own on-site exhibition curated by and for their residents, to celebrate their ‘everyday heroes’ through poetry and photography.

The National Archives will share an online resource to engage older people and care home residents. Photographs from their collection have been selected to inspire reminiscence, spark conversation and encourage participation in creative follow-up activities. Involvement can be individual or in a group, and activities will be accessible and guidance on how to maximise engagement will be included.

Inspirational projects that will be shared on the day include:

Creative Writing
The Poetry Takeaway will be working with three Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell care homes providing online training and their unique ‘takeaway’ service for ten nominated residents and staff
from one home. Participants will choose their own preferred ingredients in the form of details and memories about a person or place. The Poetry Takeaway poets will deliver the poems in the form of videos and wrapped takeaway poems will be sent by post.

Visual Arts
Creative Paths CIC, a Nottingham based not for profit social enterprise, will launch Creating spaces to Connect. The resource pack will feature easy makes and ideas to help transform care home environments and grow creative communities.

Intergenerational Music Making, a pioneer of intergenerational music projects, will hold an exciting celebration event on the day. This will be the culmination of creative sessions promoting wellbeing, community and compassion held over the summer.

— Ends

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact:
Alison Teader, Project Manager
Telephone: 07538 497607
Twitter: @Artsincarehomes
#AICH2020 #CreativeCommunities

About Arts in Care Homes:

Arts in Care Homes and the National Day of Arts in Care Homes is an initiative by the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) and funded for five years by The Baring Foundation and The Rayne Foundation. It is now in its second year. It acts as a central hub for delivery of arts and creative activities in care homes with user friendly resources to help delivery of arts and creative activities and designing projects for care homes.

Arts in Care Homes Only Connect Pen Pals
Only Connect Pen Pals was adapted at the beginning of March to become an online project. Messages of support, including letters, postcards, artwork and/or poems are sent to care homes by email. We have connected over 200 care homes with volunteers including artists, arts organisations, school children and families.

“Being a pen pal and writing letters has made me feel useful again” Resident Sunrise Seniors Living

“A warm thanks to the children for making us all smile. We have so much appreciated the lovely art and kind words through this time.” Care Home Manager, Bromley

NAPA is a membership organisation and charity, and a leader in the field, promoting the importance of meaningful activities in care homes and the need for training and support for care staff.

Baring Foundation – From 2010-2019 the Baring Foundation’s Arts programme focused on supporting participatory arts with people over the age of 60, including people living in care homes. The Foundation continues to support Arts in Care Homes Day.

*Older and Wiser? Creative Aging in the UK 2010 – 2019 Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt Kings College London

The Rayne Foundation addresses entrenched social issues through the arts, health, wellbeing, and education.