I’m delighted that our Ashurst / Create partnership has won the Legal Week CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] Innovation (Collaboration) Award.
Recognising “exceptional achievement and best practice”, this award acknowledges the innovative, collaborative approach taken to reducing isolation and building confidence among older people through the creative arts.
The award-winning project, creative:engagement, focuses on older people with dementia and mental ill-health. Bringing older people together from two different organisations, it provides them with the opportunity to explore their creativity through creative projects led by our professional artists. It also promotes social interaction amongst participants, the staff who care for them and Ashurst volunteers, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation and increasing feelings of self-worth, confidence and wellbeing.
We’ve worked with Ashurst since 2015, with our creative:engagement workshops usually (pre-lockdown) hosted at Ashurst’s London office. Over the years we’ve seen the project go from strength to strength, and both participants and volunteers have felt their confidence, creative skills, social interaction and teamwork strengthened. Seeing friendships flourish across the generations is one of the project’s greatest strengths.
One of the participants said:
“When you get to Ashurst you get a massive welcome, it’s so big and posh but they have the time and they stop for us. The artists get it right, how they explain things, the approach, the attention. The end product doesn’t matter, it is something you take home, but the process, the experience is always there.”
During the lockdown, we’ve been continuing the project over the phone, connecting isolated older people and Ashurst volunteers with our professional musician for music, singing and fun. As lockdown has meant many of our participants are shielding and have been unable to see family and friends, bringing them together through creativity has never been more important:
“The workshop has woken me up. I was beginning to get tired with nothing to do, no one to talk to. […] I really enjoyed it today, I’ll sleep tonight!”
We’re delighted that this important work – and our ongoing partnership with Ashurst – has been recognised with the prestigious award.