In March 2020, Magic Me worked with our partners and participants, to find new ways to meet, make and party, at a distance.
Projects that took place during the first two years of the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020 – 21) became the ‘At Home Together’ Programme.
We began delivery in April 2020, offering innovative ways to connect and be creative whilst we were unable to be in-person. Activities aimed to increase social interactions, grow intergenerational understanding and relieve social isolation and loneliness for people of all ages.
Our artists, who work in many different art forms, created and facilitated activities for people living individually, in families or in group care settings, where some staff support was available.
We launched this programme just as the ‘Stay Home’ message changed in England and At Home Together continued longer than any of us could have expected. The title of the programme serves to remind us that many people will remain in social isolation regardless of restrictions ending.
The programmes we launched:
- The After Party: with Cocktails in Care Homes parties no longer possible, volunteers and residents at 9 care homes and extra-care schemes took part in artist led activities connecting people through: exchanging letters, sharing artworks, curated newsletters and online and phone meet-ups. Four artists worked on the project, each leading on an individual month, creating activities on a loose theme.
- The View From Here & Simple Acts: with our Arts & Ages participants, seven artists created online and offline activities with schools, care settings and housing providers designed to maintain intergenerational relationships adapted to the current circumstances, whilst keeping in mind the original aims of each project.
- Generation Rebellion: our annual women’s project involving secondary school students and older women living independently. Participants created the Generation Rebellion Zine, led by project artists Sue Mayo and Elsa James. Older and younger participants took part in activities both on/off line, via post and phone.
- Quality Street: with the planned summer street party no longer able to take place, our Waltham Forest Community Steering group commissioned a group of artists to create a remote, intergenerational festival experience. Year 5 from George Mitchell Primary School, continued working with residents living at two local care schemes through a remote project, creating an animation film.
Sharing the Learning
We learnt so much from this programme and we continue to pilot and experiment and fine tune what we offer and how we offer it.
Ongoing reflection and learning is at the heart of Magic Me, between 2020 – 21 we produced a number of reports, guides and creative resources, to support other arts organisations, younger and older people’s settings and participatory arts practitioners.
- Arts & Ages: a guide to intergenerational work
- At Home Together Activity Resources
- Cocktails in Care Homes & The After Party – evaluation by NAPA (National Activity Provider Association)
ACE helped to fund our At Home Together programme under their Emergency Response Package, which aids creative organisations affected by COVID 19. Through this fund, Magic Me was able to continue supporting the artists we work with and remain in contact with older participants through stay in touch phone calls – where necessary we were also signposting to other agencies eg Food Banks, Advice Lines according to individual needs.