Age-Friendly Standards Launched
The Family Arts Campaign has announced the launch of its new Age-Friendly Standards, which provide clear guidance for cultural organisations welcoming older family members. There are already 65 early adopters of the Age-Friendly Standards including Sadler’s Wells, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and Blackpool Grand Theatre.
The Standards are designed to complement the existing Family Arts Standards which codify good practice in welcoming families, and are currently held by over 500 UK cultural organisations. The Age-Friendly Standards provide specific guidance on welcoming older people, and displaying this new logo affirms that an organisation has considered the often more complex needs of older visitors.
The development of the Age-Friendly Standards is a response to reported trends which indicated a significant drop-off in cultural engagement in later life, due to multiple barriers which older people may encounter. The Standards support a major new ‘Celebrating Age’ fund launched this year by Arts Council England which aims to support cultural spaces to be open, positive and welcoming places for older people.
The significant opportunity for arts and culture to play a role in enhancing quality of life for older people is further reflected in Age UK’s 2017 Index of Wellbeing in Later Life which reports ‘Creative and cultural participation’ to be the most prominent indicator to wellbeing in later life, scoring highest amongst a large range of contributing factors.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK commented on the findings: “'Being positive and open, willing to try out new things, and engaged with what’s going on around us turns out to be incredibly important in sustaining our wellbeing as we get older.”
The Age Friendly Standards address five key areas when welcoming older audiences:
- Building relationships
- Considering suitable programming
- Providing appropriate facilities
- Communicating appropriately
- Providing a warm welcome
The Age-Friendly Standards apply to any type of cultural experience, from museums, concert halls, libraries and art galleries, to dance companies, theatre groups, music ensembles and festivals.
The development of the Standards has been supported using public funding by Arts Council England.
Phil Cave, Director of Audience and Engagement at Arts Council England said: “The Age-Friendly Standards support Arts Council England’s ambition for great arts and culture to be available to everyone, regardless of their age or experience. These Standards provide cultural organisations with the tools to assess the welcome that they offer, and enable them to make a public commitment to welcoming older people.”
Jenny Daly, Head of the Family Arts Campaign said: “Older people are an important part of the family, with multiple generations living side by side. Arts and culture contribute significantly to a positive experience of later life, as well as providing a means to connect young and old. The Age-Friendly Standards signify an important shift for the Family Arts Campaign in supporting the cultural sector to facilitate these experiences.”
Organisations can sign up to the Age-Friendly Standards for free at familyarts.co.uk/age-friendly
Organisations can also promote their age-friendly events (taking place from 1st October onwards) on the Family Arts Campaign’s listings website:
Age-friendly events taking place between 1st- 14th October will be part of the first Age of Creativity Festival, which will be hosted on the Fantastic for Families listings website: ageofcreativity.co.uk/festival