Magic Me

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Older change-makers in London call for more intergenerational opportunities in new report

Posted by Magic Me on 2018-03-12

In a report prepared for the Greater London Authority that explores how London could become more age friendly and develop the role of older Londoners, Jane Scobie also explored the ideas and input of older change makers in the capital.  Interviewing older Londoners who are leading and mobilising to make London more Age friendly she wanted to ensure that her report gave them a voice in the discussions on how to develop better practice and make London a better place to grow old.

Jane interviewed older change makers and members of key stakeholder groups. In response to the question: “What project led by and for older Londoners would you like to expand and why?” she received this response about Magic Me’s Cocktails in Care Homes project:

“Cocktails in Care Homes – organises parties for young professionals and older residents. “we want to change the perception of what a care home is, remove the taboo and feeling it is an unknown place.” A key benefit to younger volunteers is to socialise with each other as well as with care home residents.”

Asked for three wishes to make London a better place to grow old one of the key themes coming out of these answers was around respect, intergenerational understanding and combating ageism:

“Being respected and understood by other generations, businesses and service providers is a key wish. Older change makers expressed concern that they were stereotyped and patronised despite their life experience. Action to support older people’s agency and multi-generational activities that bring different generations together as equals and for a common purpose is valued.”


You can read the full report here

Photos: Cocktails in Care Homes, picture by Lisa Belletty of People’s Post Code Lottery and

Bin Ageism project

Robbie Runs for Magic Me

Posted by Magic Me on 2018-03-07

Robbie Kings is running three marathons to raise funds for Magic Me’s Cocktails In Care Homes project. He has just completed the Seville marathon and will be running in Paris on 8th April and in London on 22nd April, we caught up with Robbie to ask him a few questions about this wonderful fundraising effort:

What made you decide to run for Magic Me?
Magic Me is a wonderful charity and it was important to me that any fundraising went directly to the people that need it. My grandfather died two years ago and my Nan now lives alone, so I understand the importance of bringing elderly people together in social situations. More broadly, I firmly believe that life is all about our connections with other people and the positive impact we can have on each other’s lives.

How long have you been running marathons?
6 years. I started out barely being able to run a mile and worked my way up to my first marathon when I was 29 in Amsterdam. Since then I’ve run Rome, Paris, Stockholm and Seville. Paris and London this year will be my 6th and 7th marathons.

Running three marathons so close together seems like quite a challenge? Have you done this before?
I did two fairly close together last year so I thought I’d go one further! There’s only a two week gap between Paris and London which is a bit scary!

What’s your favourite cocktail?
A caipirinha! After a month in Brazil I became very good at making (and drinking) them!

How old are you?

Where are you from?
Plymouth originally. I moved to London 5 years ago.

What do you do for a living?
I look after the marketing for west end and touring theatre shows.

You can help Robbie hit is fundraising target here


Magic Me is looking to commission a film telling the story of Magic Me

Posted by Magic Me on 2018-01-18

Magic Me is looking to commission a film telling the story of Magic Me.

The commissioned film-maker/artist would be invited to film some of our current ongoing projects including 3 schools projects (bringing students from local schools in Tower Hamlets together with older people both from the community and in different care settings across the borough) as well as our Cocktails In Care Homes project where young working age volunteers go into care homes and organise monthly cocktail parties.  As well as filming general activity we also envisage a number of ‘talking-head’/interview segments.

Magic Me has been a leading intergenerational arts organisation since it began in 1989 and over the years we have produced a number of films and podcasts. We also have a large archive of photographs from previous projects.  We would be interested to see how these can be utilised within the film.  It may be that two films are created from the same footage – one telling the story of Magic Me in a straightforward documentary style and another showcasing the variety and quality of the artistic work we have created over the last three decades.

We have worked with many different film makers over this period and welcome them to apply for this opportunity, however we would like to increase the diversity of our organisation and are keen to hear from film makers new to Magic Me, and welcome applications particularly from POC/BAME and/or disabled artists.  We are also keen to hear from film-makers who live and/or work in Tower Hamlets.

The total budget for this commission is £1,000 and this includes artists/film-makers time, expenses, final edit and captioning. This is based on 3 x half days filming projects plus 3 days edit plus expenses. There is some flexibility in the budget, depending on final proposals presented at shortlisting stage.

To apply for this opportunity please send an email giving brief details of why you are particularly interested in the subject of intergenerational arts, why you think you can deliver this project successfully and a link to your online portfolio/YouTube/Vimeo or to website pages hosting your work.

This post will require an up to date DBS check. Please indicate if you have this when applying.

The application deadline is 4th February

We will contact shortlisted applicants by 6th February

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 12th February

Filming of projects will take place from end of February to end of March 2018.

We may ask shortlisted applicants to prepare a more detailed proposal for the interview.

To apply: please send an email detailing why you think you are right for this commission, what inspires you about intergenerational work and a link to any online sites hosting your work. Shortlisted applicants may be asked to prepare a more detailed proposal for the interview stage but this is not required initially.  Please email to

A downloadable format of this post is available here

Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery support Magic Me

Posted by Magic Me on 2018-01-18


Magic Me, has been awarded a special enabling award, of £100,000, by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. The award will allow us to take forward our plans for long term growth over the next two years, supporting the expansion of our activities out of London and into the East of England.

We get many requests from organisations across the country for information and ideas. This grant will help us to share our expertise with many others, supporting them to start similar projects with more people, young and old.  We are already working with arts organisation, Metal, to take our intergenerational women’s project, Decorum, to Southend and Peterborough and have also recently worked with Essex Council to mentor intergenerational artists on a project in Rochford.

It is really great to see a major funder like the People’s Postcode Lottery acknowledge the importance of Magic Me’s work. Times are tough for many people and our fundraising is ongoing, to ensure  we can continue to serve the east London communities where we are based.

The announcement was made at one of our Cocktails in Care Homes parties at Elgin Close, an extra care scheme run by Notting Hill Housing Association.


Photos by Lisa Belletty from People’s Postcode Lottery

Recruiting two new trustees

Posted by Magic Me on 2017-12-14

We are seeking dynamic, committed people to join our trustee board.  We have up to two positions available.

We welcome and encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and are keen to receive applications from BAME candidates.

We are seeking applications from people with expertise and experience, of organisational strategy, charity governance, community arts, education and care sectors.

The time commitment is around half a day a month to support Magic Me, its future and well-being. Charity Trustees are, by law, volunteers. Reasonable travel, childcare and other expenses are offered.

Magic Me is the UK’s leading provider of intergenerational arts projects. Our award-winning programme brings together younger and older people for mutual learning, enjoyment and benefit. This is an exciting time to join Magic Me. In 2018 we plan to grow our activities, within our home borough of Tower Hamlets across London, and into the east of England, trialling new approaches to intergenerational community building, and delivering an organisational wide digital strategy. Our Board of Trustees will be a key part of this growth. We are looking for people who can provide excellent governance to support the charity to deliver on its mission and to safeguard its values.

Further information and an application pack can be found here


Join us at the Southbank Centre

Posted by Magic Me on 2017-12-11

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to go to one of our Cocktails In Care Homes parties – now there is a chance to find out!  On 15th December Cocktails In Care Homes comes to the Clore Ballroom at the Southbank Centre from 1pm-3pm.  Drop in and meet some of our regular care home residents and regular volunteers as we recreate a Cocktails in Care Homes party for the public to enjoy, there will be live music and our own Care Home DJ spinning some suitable tunes for our Mexican themed (yes Mexican themed!) party.  

Make Mine a Double – the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017

Posted by Magic Me on 2017-11-23

Update: 11 December 2017 – Thank you to everyone who gave to the Big Give Christmas Challenge – we raised an amazing £8656!

Tuesday 28th November (midday) to
5th December (midday)









Make mine a double! The Big Give matches your donation so that Magic Me gets twice the money. We already have a fund of £4K standing by to match your donations. If we hit this target the donations over that won’t be automatically doubled but we do get a chance to win one of the Big Give prize funds to add to our total.

Last year 157 generous donors raised over £9,000 enabling us to run 99 parties in 2017. Help us do the same in 2018.

The funds we raise from this year’s Big Give will go to our Cocktails In Care Homes project.

All you need to do is click here and make a donation!


Follow @MagicMeArts and retweet our tweets so they reach more people.

Add your own ‘Make Mine a Double’ pictures and tweet with these messages:

#MakeMineADouble we are supporting @MagicMeArts in the @BigGive #ChristmasChallenge2017 donate here:
#Cheers #MakeMineADouble here’s to @MagicMeArts & @BigGive #ChristmasChallenge2017 donate here:









Share the information below with your network and introduce Cocktails in Care Homes to a whole new audience of potential supporters:

“I’m a supporter of the intergenerational arts charity, Magic Me. They run a project called Cocktails In Care Homes and need your support in the Big Give Christmas Challenge to help keep the project going and run more parties – you can donate here and the money will be doubled (up to a certain amount) find out more here:

Magic Me set up the Cocktails project because residents in care homes had told them that the most boring part of their day was the evening, a time when many people are getting dressed up and going out. They were asked to provide an activity to relieve the boredom between dinner and bedtime, and help residents stay in touch with the wider world outside their homes.

Since 2010 Magic Me  has been running Cocktails in Care Homes, hosted by young adult volunteers, 12 care homes across London now have monthly evening drinks parties from September to July ever year. The Cocktails team continue to work on expanding the network of homes they operate in and to bring on board a range of different partners to ensure that the concept remains fresh and fun for all concerned.  Each month there is a new party theme with decorations provided by partners and volunteers. New elements are added – for example in Autumn 2017 we are working with the Royal Academy of Music to bring in live musicians. You can find out more here:



Magic Me Working with Artists in Essex

Posted by Magic Me on 2017-10-30

Magic Me is working with award-winning animation and installation artist Emma Curtis and film maker, Jane Gull on a project in Rochford, Essex that brings school children from Waterman Primary School together with older people resident in Broomhills Care Home.

The children are visiting the care home each week and together with the residents are sharing stories and thoughts on the theme of ‘party time’. The inter-generational group are also creating an animation about their experiences which will be made into a film to be screened at a sharing event at the school.

Susan Langford, Director of Magic Me is mentoring the artists involved, sharing with them Magic Me’s three decades of experience and practice in the field of intergenerational arts.

The project, run by Essex County Council with Anglia Ruskin University, has been funded through Arts Council England.

Eileen Thorn, Head Teacher at Waterman Primary School said, “Through learning to communicate with older people, our pupils are developing their own self esteem; developing respect across the generations and showing consideration of the needs of the elderly residents.
“This absolutely supports the fundamental values of our school. It has been documented that for elderly residents, working with children, has health benefits, including decrease in symptoms of depression, improved mobility and cognitive skills. We look forward to the end result!”

Cllr Susan Barker, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Community and Customer said, “Introducing arts and culture in care homes provides a wealth of benefits to residents and carers, I am delighted that we are able to facilitate cultural organisations in Essex through funding from the Arts Council.
“We are proud to work closely with cultural organisations in Essex who deliver valuable work to bring our communities closer together, and I look forward to seeing the film of everyone’s experiences.”

In addition to her mentoring role, Essex County Council also commissioned Susan Langford to run a one day workshop introducing artists from across Essex, to the dynamics and practicalities of intergenerational arts projects. Magic Me has a track record of providing training and consultancy support for clients large and small across the arts, community, care and housing sectors. To find out how we might help you contact

Magic Me Nominated for a Liberty Human Rights Arts Award

Posted by Magic Me on 2017-10-17

Magic Me has been nominated for a prestigious Liberty Human Rights Arts Award.

Civil liberties and human rights charity Liberty, has nominated us for one of their Human Rights Arts Awards – the nomination reads as follows:

“Magic Me uses the arts to bring different generations together to spark ideas and build better, closer communities. Musicians, dancers, artists and drama specialists lead brilliant creative projects that stimulate conversations between older and younger generations.

Through their dedicated volunteer base, their Cocktails in Care homes project combats isolation and loneliness in later life. They also use artists’ residencies, intergenerational theatre performances and filmmaking to explore concepts of gender, identity, age and migration. Their range of inventive work challenges stigma, crosses social and cultural divides and celebrates human connections.”

Susan Langford, our Director, says:

“Magic Me is not known as a Human Rights charity, but the rights of older and younger people are central to what we do. Too often older people are seen as a problem to be solved, and are excluded from mainstream activities. Magic Me believes that everyone, however old or young, has much to contribute to their community. We also believe that we all have a right to the enjoyment and sense of achievement offered by the arts. This includes older people living in care homes, and those living with dementia.

Our work really does address the need for us all to continue to treat older people as humans – with rights.  This is particularly true for those living in care homes.

Magic Me’s work demonstrates that older people are valued, and often lets the care staff see them in a different light as more rounded people.  By not dumbing down what we offer artistically we acknowledge that they are entitled to the same full and active life, the same cultural choice that they enjoyed when they were younger.

The young people who are involved benefit too, growing in confidence and learning new social skills. It would be a mistake to see Magic Me as just young people helping older people – they both get something really valuable out of it.  Many of the young people come from disadvantaged homes and communities and our projects offer them a chance to work in-depth with really top-notch experienced artists.”

Cocktails in Care Homes is just one of many intergenerational projects Magic Me has run in its 3 decade long history. Volunteers, often young professionals living locally, visit a care home to create a great ‘night out’ and bring a little of the outside world into the lives of the residents. Monthly early evening parties offer fresh conversation and socialsing, particularly valuable for those who receive no other visitors. Parties run at 12 homes across London, including 3 in Tower Hamlets.

In 2016 Magic Me was commissioned by Public Health Tower Hamlets to help with their Action on Loneliness Project aimed at tackling isolation and loneliness of older people in the borough. This year they brought pupils from John Scurr Primary School together with residents of Hawthorn Green care home to work on the project Stepney Stories. Last year a programme of Artists’ Residencies in Care Homes brought Upswing circus company to Silk Court in Bethnal Green. Magic Me’s current project ‘Decorum’ brings together girls from Mulberry School with older women from East London to explore what ‘good behaviour’ means for women in the 21st Century.

We will find out at the award ceremony on 24th October whether we have won!

We are recruiting a Project Co-ordinator for Cocktails in Care Homes

Posted by Magic Me on 2017-09-28

We are looking for a Project Co-ordinator for our ground-breaking Cocktails in Care Homes project.

The ideal candidate will have a creative approach to work, enjoy working proactively and be highly organised and a confident communicator able to adapt to many different environments.

Experience of assisting on projects in the community, voluntary sector, arts, education or other relevant field is essential as is experience of working directly with younger and older people in a relevant role. A full Person specification can be found along with the Job Description here.

We particularly welcome applications from disabled and/or BAME candidates, who are currently underrepresented in our team.

Cocktails in Care Homes is an ongoing project and each month parties are hosted in care homes across London. The parties are intended to address issues of social isolation and loneliness and provide evening activity for residents in care homes. Volunteers are drawn from the young professional population of London and all are given an induction prior to their first party.

This is a permanent full time role (35 hours per week) and some evening work is an essential part of this role.

The post-holder will work regularly with children and vulnerable adults, therefore appointment to this post is subject to an up-to-date, satisfactory, enhanced DBS check with a check against the barred lists for children and adults.

By law, we are required to check the eligibility of candidates to work in the UK before offering anyone a job. Proof of eligibility to work in the UK will be required before a post is confirmed.

 Salary £20-22k


Please download and complete the application form and cover sheet and then send these two forms as separate attachments to email to:, or by post to: Mark Bixter, General Manager, Magic Me, 18 Victoria Park Square, London E2 9PF

Deadline for applications: 9am on Thursday 19th October 2017. We will not be able to consider applications received after this deadline.