Magic Me’s longstanding, award winning Cocktails in Care Homes project saw us throwing monthly cocktail parties in care homes and extra care schemes across London. Parties were our response to reports of quiet and lonely evenings in care homes, and the inability of many residents to pop down the pub or out to socialise with friends, due to ill health, frailty and diminished energy. Many residents families live far away, and many didn’t have visitors for weeks at a time. By January 2020, we were throwing monthly parties in 18 care homes and extra care schemes across London, attended by over 400 volunteers and 500 residents per year, alongside care staff and family members. No two parties were ever the same, with activities and entertainment shaped by the interests of party goers. Sessions encompassed themed decor, music, dancing, games and magic, with support from specialist volunteers and creative organisations.
The After Party was the Cocktails team’s response to the changing situations around the Covid-19 virus, and was a new format for the Cocktails project from April – July 2020, aiming to find new ways to fulfil our project aims of connecting young and older adults through regular social activity, even if we are no longer able to meet face to face. The current situation is unprecedented, and the future unpredictable, eager for the project to take a new and dynamic shape, flexible and adjustable to the rapidly changing situation. Our core project’s aim to reduce social isolation in our communities has never been more pressing.
You are invited to Cocktails…..The After Party!
The After Party is an interactive project to keep the Cocktails community – volunteers, care home residents, staff and family members – and wider community connected through fun, meaningful creative activity. While the project is designed with previous Cocktails in Care Homes participants in mind, you do not have to be a register Cocktails volunteer to take part – anyone and everyone is welcome to join us and take part in our activities!
The After Party is led by our team of Magic Me Artists Mia Harris, Kathy Horak-Hallett, Shepherd Manyika and Chuck Blue Lowry, where we will find new ways to engage in what we love most about parties: laughing, singing, dancing, debating and exploring together, now remotely and from afar.
How are residents and care staff getting involved?
–Each month, After Party care partners receive newsletters from Magic Me which include our artist actions and activities, alongside personalised messages from Cocktails Volunteers.
After Party ‘Care Package’ is sent via post by Magic Me and our artists, which includes physical items, i.e letters, artworks and/ or physical representations of artworks produced by volunteers and wider public who’ve taken part in the creative activities. “Momentos” for residents and for the home.
At Magic Me, we recognise that these are incredibly tough times. Our aims reducing social isolation for older adults living in care contexts has never been more important, and is what drives The After Party project. 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 board. This is why we are carrying out a bespoke and tailored approach towards supporting residents and staff engagement, ensuring that activities are accessible and take into consideration the practicalities of care staff/ resident interaction during COVID-19 in mind ie. ensuring activities can be engaged with individually (for residents in isolation) or small, socially distanced groups, if group activity is still taking place. We aim to ensure that our package functions as a supportive resource to facilitate the meaningful social interaction and sense of community we all need during this time and are in continuous conversation with our care partners to do so.
This project has now come to an end. Check The After Party archives for continued access to our creative actions, responses, messages and more!
Read our project evaluation report by Alison Teader of NAPA (National Activity Provider Association) here.
This project was funded by: Arts Council England, French Huguenot Church of London Charitable Trust, Hammersmith United Charities, Salter Charitable Trust, Westminster Amalgamated Charity, The Expat Foundation.