At Magic Me, we recognise that these are incredibly tough times. Our aims of reducing social isolation for older adults living in care contexts has never been more important, and is what has driven our Covid-response The After Party project (April-July 2020.) The project functioned as a supportive resource to facilitate the meaningful social interaction and sense of community we all need during this time and to do this, we made sure we were in continuous conversation with our care partners, assessing how best to do this within the changing landscape. Further, Cocktails: The After Party aimed to recognise and celebrate the invaluable work of care staff, not just during this terrible pandemic, but every day, every year.
We understand that the current situation means that staff capacity in care settings to support and engage in creative activity may be reduced – and that access to technology differs across the sector. The After Party carried out a bespoke and tailored approach towards supporting residents and staff engagement, ensuring that activities were accessible and took into consideration the practicalities of care staff/ resident interaction during COVID-19 ie. ensuring activities can be engaged with individually (for residents in isolation) or small, socially distanced groups, if group activity is still taking place.
From April – July 2020, Cocktails: The After Party care partners received:
-Newsletters with creative resources and activities designed by our artists for residents and staff to take part in remotely, alongside personalised messages from Cocktails Volunteers – to keep participants creative and connected during this time.
-After Party ‘Care Packages’ sent via post by Magic Me artists which includes creative resources, activities, momentos and messages for residents and for the home/scheme.
Care partners involved in The After Party project were Notting Hill Genesis, Anchor, and the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
Feedback from our partners…
“Staff and customers would like to say a massive thank you to Magic Me for your generosity, especially in troubling times like these it is lovely to see such kind heartedness.”
“We are going to add these activities to our monthly activity sessions and see what residents would like to participate in.”
“It’s nice to see pictures of volunteers.”
“We have received the care packages, thank you for thinking of us. We love the colourful birds!”
“The postcards activity hit a note with the residents, we have sent some out to our volunteers – from Magic Me and others. The legacy of this still goes on and we are still making them. It allows the residents to think about the outside.”
“Receiving ideas from Magic Me is great.”
“Simple ideas work really well. Residents have wide ranging interests so something that offers entry for a variety of people. Activities with different pitches and entry points work well ie. postcards.”
“You are really making a positive impact.”
“It’s the little things – it’s unexpected.”
“You are doing great work.”
Alison Teader, Project Manager for NAPA Arts in Care Homes has provided an evaluation of both Cocktails in Care Homes and its Covid-19 variation which launched on Arts in Care Homes Day 2020.
Alison says: “It was wonderful to see how Magic Me adapted their Cocktails in Care Homes parties into a remote activity for their partner care settings and volunteers during lockdown. This was a rapid response to the Covid-19 situation and what came across very powerfully, from talking to care staff and volunteers, was how helpful it was for them to have this creative stimulation and a chance to connect at a very difficult time. Participatory arts projects and sessions in care settings will have to evolve, adapt and develop over the coming months due to the current situation. Magic Me’s The After Party project provides a snapshot in time and an invaluable insight into how future creative sessions could be delivered along with topics for discussion and further exploration.”