Evaluation of Arts in Care Homes

The Baring Foundation and Arts Council England have published an evaluation of their jointly funded programme to introduce arts activities in clusters of care homes. It highlights some of the difficulties generated by the scheme’s ambitious but resource- and time-limited programme and highlights a wide range of ways funders and arts organisations could change approaches to work in this area in the future.

The report points to the background of economic austerity as a factor in some of the challenges faced by the programme. It discusses the cultural differences between care homes and cultural organisations, the limited capacity of small arts organisations to deliver projects over varying geographies and the challenge of working with the rapid turnover of staff in care settings. It highlights the many challenges around the type of facilities and spaces available in care settings and access issues faced by many residents. It celebrates the impact that creative activities can have on residents and also on staff and presents significant learning for future projects targeting care homes as well as guidance for funders and arts organisations looking to work in this area.

The report concludes that “High level discussions should now take place between the Care Quality Commission, the Baring Foundation and Arts Council England to explore the ways in which the experience and learning of the Arts in Care Homes programme can be disseminated throughout the arts and care sectors and embedded within care home practice in ways that impact upon CQC assessments.”