Do you want to run exciting activity for older learners? The following information and resources should help…

When you retire you still need a focal point and interest, and the writing has brought that out.  I’ve become fit in body and mind.

Between September 2012 and July 2013, ARC Stockton Arts Centre delivered Silver Creative Arts learning Programme; a responsive programme which was designed to increase the number of older people regularly participating in high quality creative arts learning activity.


It involved working with potential learners through consultation to design relevant programmes of activity; up skilling arts practitioners to deliver activity for this target group and a proactive engagement campaign working with older learners and volunteers to attract and retain participants; improving access to learning.


66 older people were involved in leading this positive change for the community by volunteering their time to shape and develop a creative learning programme which was relevant to the needs and interests of older people in Stockton.  102 new arts opportunities including Ballet Pilates, Ukulele, Creative Writing, Arts, Drama and iPad Creativity were delivered at ARC and 199 older learners attended.


The programme was supported by the Skills Funding Agency.


Silver Creative Arts Learning Programme supported older learners living in Stockton on Tees to engage with high quality creative learning activity to develop their social relationships and improve their health and wellbeing.  For case studies about some of our learners click here:


The Silver Creative Arts learning Programme aimed to increase the number of older people participating in regular arts learning activity and aimed to improve their personal wellbeing through arts participation, keep brains and bodies active and provide an opportunity for social interaction.

Our specific aims were:

  •  Increase access the amount of creative arts learning activity for older people in Stockton
  • To enable more older people in Stockton to access regular creative arts learning activity
  • To provide more opportunities for older learners to develop their creative arts skills and knowledge
  • To increase the quality of creative arts learning activity available for older people in Stockton
  • To develop a sustainable programme of creative arts learning activity available for older people in Stockton


As the project began, we worked with learners to discuss the aims of the programme and how we intended on delivering these aims with their support.  An evaluation plan was also created with support from the learners so we could measure the outcomes of the project in a robust and meaningful way.  Our evaluation report demonstrates our achievements against many of these outcomes.

An example of our evidence collecting template can be found here


Project Delivery: a timeline

Click here for a timeline showing how the project developed.



The programme was resourced with a £21, 330 grant from the Skills Funding Agency. Key spending areas included tuition, learning venues, professional development, access schemes, engagement activity, project management, and overheads.


Crucial to the programme’s success was the way in which we engaged learners in the development of the programme from initial planning to the shape of the activity programme.  The creative learning activity evolved in response to learner interests and needs:


  • A pilot programme of activity was delivere din November 2012 to trial a variety of activity, we trialled a series of Ukulele sessions, singing sessions, a Ballet Pilates class, Drama and Theatre, Storytelling, film Making, Creative Writing, Creative Arts, Dance and Movement and other exercise based sessions.
  • A celebratory VIP evening was held to reflect on the pilot programme and look forwards to the next stage of activity
  • Learners by participation selected the activity which went forward
    • a weekly Ballet Pilates class delivered by Sarah Hearn
    • a weekly Creative Arts class delivered by Mary Lou Springstead
    • a bi-weekly creative writing class delivered by Noreen Rees
  • A monthly programme of pop up activity which included sessions delivered by Claire Ford (digital creativity) and Laura Bridges (storytelling and drama techniques)
  • Learners worked towards an exhibition event for their activity, examples of the creative writers work can be found here.
  • An example of a lesson plan for creative writing can be viewed here.



Silver Creative Arts Learning programme delivered a large marketing campaign which engaged learners in distributing the information as well as press releases, media articles, online presence and print design and distribution.  The following are examples of publicity used:

Silver pilot week insert

A press release used for the launch of Silver Creative Arts Learning Programme

Click here for a link to Silver activities online.


We adopted a range of methodologies for our evaluation including informal and formal conversations, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, online surveys, photo diaries, data capture and participant forms.  Examples of our evaluation tools can be found here:

Evaluation Collection Planning Template

Learner Fitness questionnaire

Video Playback evidence Collecting Sheet

Participant Form for CLIF

Click here for the evaluation report

As part of the Silver Creative Arts Learning Programme ARC developed a Cultural Volunteer Recruitment Film in response to our learning volunteer recruitment.  Our learning has been documented for the purpose of sharing – please click here for the report


Top Tips for Future Delivery
Coming soon
For further information about the Silver Creative Arts Learning programme, please read our
evaluation report


Key contacts
For more information about Silver Creative Arts Learning programme, please contact:
Rachael Ankers, Creative Learning Manager at ARC Stockton Arts Centre