Cast is one of the first national cultural organisations who have adopted the Family Arts Campaign’s new Age-Friendly Standards. They were developed in consultation with leading experts including Age UK, 170 arts and cultural organisations, and older arts attenders.

The Age-Friendly Standards provide specific guidance on welcoming older people and displaying this new kitemark affirms that the organisation has considered the often more complex needs of older visitors.

Cast prides itself on the exemplary welcome provided for older members of the community through its Changing Spaces room, opportunities to take part including ‘Intro to Theatre for the over 50s’, as well as relaxed performances and mid-week and weekend matinees. Cast is currently working to empower older people with dementia and their carers, encouraging them to engage with, and create, excellent art. This includes ensuring their spaces are physically accessible, as well as creating long-term relationships with local services. Cast is also currently in the development stages of ‘The Red Carpet Club’, which will provide access to the arts, friendship and the creation of a positive creative community for over 55’s. Older people are a valued part of audiences and participants within Cast’s community and these Standards send a clear message that they are a priority for the charity.

Cast has also been granted £5,000 by the Santander Foundation Discovery Grants programme to help deliver a yearlong programme of introductory theatre courses for socially isolated over 50’s.

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 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.

The Age Friendly Standards address five key areas when welcoming older audiences:

  1. Building relationships
  2. Considering suitable programming
  3. Providing appropriate facilities
  4. Communicating appropriately
  5. Providing a warm welcome

Sian Dudley, Head of Marketing and Communications at Cast, comments:

The arts should be open and accessible for everyone; engagement with the arts enriches lives, and this is particularly true for the older people in our community. Adopting the Family Art’s Campaign’s Age-Friendly Standards felt like the next step in our journey to becoming Doncaster’s social and cultural hub, welcoming audiences from all walks of life and providing consistent, high-quality experiences. We are proud to support this campaign and we hope that this shows our understanding of the complex and differing needs of our audiences. We know that there is still a long way to go, but we’re happy to be one of the first national cultural organisations to adopt these standards, and we know that we will work hard to maintain them.’  

 The development of the Age-Friendly Standards was supported by Arts Council England.

Further information on the Age-Friendly Standards on familyarts.co.uk/age-friendly