Create to Connect

Project dates: March 2021 - December 2021

Free activities supporting people aged 55+ to creativity connect with others during the pandemic.

Create to Connect: Free creative activities for people aged 55+

Create to Connect is a project designed to reduce isolation for people aged 55 and over. Hundreds of thousands of older people are lonely and cut off from society in England. The COVID-19 pandemic increased this massively.

People of all ages have had to remain socially distanced and self-isolated. For older people, who are at greater risk from the disease, this has been an additionally difficult time.

We worked with 12 different artists to create a series of resources that older adults could access from the safety of their homes. They include:

  • live online workshops
  • posted art packs with specially designed activities and materials
  • video tutorials

Each promotes creativity as a way to connect with others and the world. They also offered tips to boost wellbeing and mood.

Online Creative Courses

Over Zoom, each of our 12 artists ran a course of four creative workshops. They explored themes including mindfulness, connecting with nature, writing, poetry, puppetry, painting, singing and music. One block of workshops was based around activities from our Armchair Gallery app. It connected care home residents from five different homes.

Illustration of a field and a jar with an illustrated label.
Participant Artwork
Abstract picture of faces with inspirational messages written on them.
Participant Artwork

I realised during lockdown, having lost a job and friends and family, I had lost hope. The workshops came at the right time to lift my mental health.

Workshop Participant

As lockdown restrictions eased, we were able to run four, small, socially-distanced walking workshops. They were led by artist Kathryn Cooper and looked at local heritage.

Artist shows map older woman using a wheelchair
Outdoor workshops with Kathryn Cooper
Outdoor workshops with Kathryn Cooper

Art Packs

For a lot of older people, lack of online access has made it hard to take part in cultural activities during the pandemic. Our art packs contain art materials and a specially designed activity booklet. The booklets detail art activities which you can do at home, on your own or in a group.

The activities are designed for people who have not done art before. They can be adapted to push your skills a little further, should you wish to.

Video Tutorials

Video tutorials offer an alternative way to try out Create to Connect activities. They were recorded remotely by each of our workshop artists. The video tutorials complement our art packs.

Project Team