A festival aiming to showcase the talents of older people in Lewisham will take place in autumn next year.
The Lewisham Festival of Creative Ageing aims to give older people the opportunity to be more active in civic life and highlight the benefits of creativity in older age. It will run in September and October next year.
The festival will reach hundreds of older residents and targets deprived wards where life expectancy is at its lowest.
Councillor Chris Best, Lewisham’s Deputy Mayor, speaking at the launch at the Albany Centre, said: “We want the festival to be something that everyone feels that they can be a part of”.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Culture has the power to transform lives and I’m delighted that Lewisham has been awarded funding to celebrate the role culture can play in supporting older people – helping them to live longer, happier and more independent lives.”
Best, also cabinet member for health and adult social care, described the event’s purpose: “The festival will shine a spotlight on that work and give us all a chance to learn from each other. It will celebrate the transformative power of the arts in our lives as we age and showcase and support the talents of older people in Lewisham.”
It will be funded with the £216,000, won with the London Cultural Impact Award last year.
During the engagement launch, Best thanked those involved in Lewisham’s Borough of Culture bid, calling the win “a credit to all [the] amazing ideas and hard work but also the quality of Lewisham’s arts sector”.
Katherine McMahon, the producer for the festival, announced two grants available for older people’s organisation, community groups and artists in Lewisham.
One will be up to £500, for an art exhibition or a creative session led by an artist or someone from a local group; the other one will be up to £2,000 for longer projects, ending with an event during the festival.
Ideas-making sessions will be organised next January to help people who want to get involved to concretise their project, or meet other groups to work with. Individuals cannot apply without an organisation.
The event will work locally but also look to involve national and international artists from the UK, Europe, North America, Australia and Japan.