A community arts programme for older people: an evaluation

Theodore Stickley (School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom)
Ada Hui (School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom)
Gary Souter (Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom)
Danielle Mills (School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Publication date: 14 March 2016



The purpose of this paper is to present an evaluation of a community-based arts programme for older people in Nottinghamshire.


The evaluation was conducted using a combination of pre- and post-initiative quantitative questionnaires and qualitative focus group interviews. This paper focuses upon the findings from the focus groups.


Participants reported feeling more positively about ageing and being more motivated to pursue new opportunities at the end of the programme. Five themes emerged from the focus group interviews, namely age and ageing, the finished product, new opportunities, aspirations and the future and personal benefits. These related to increased confidence, having greater creative expression, meaningful occupation and opportunities for socialisation.

Social implications

The programme was found to be successful in helping individuals feel more positive about their age, to feel more confident and motivated, to engage with others through mutual creativity, as well as to challenge negative social stereotypes of older people.


The paper will be of relevance and value to those working with older people and those with an interest in the arts. This evaluation demonstrates the diversity of the older population with older citizen’s voices being at the heart of the programme.



This programme of work, including the evaluation was funded by Nottinghamshire County Council.


Stickley, T., Hui, A., Souter, G. and Mills, D. (2016), "A community arts programme for older people: an evaluation", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 22-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-07-2015-0027

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