About: The Age Friendly Manchester Culture Champions scheme is part of the wider Age Friendly Manchester Cultural Offer programme which was established in 2007 to extend the reach of the city’s world-class arts and culture to older people in Manchester.
The Cultural Offer programme is run by Age Friendly Manchester, with a working group of 19 cultural organisations from Manchester and Salford including the Hallé Orchestra, People’s History Museum, Royal Exchange Theatre and the Whitworth. It focuses on encouraging arts engagement among older people and using arts in health/social care for older people.
The Culture Champions scheme was launched in 2011 following research and consultation, which recommended that developing ‘gatekeepers’ in local communities to act as ‘ambassadors’ for the arts and culture in the city should be a priority. The scheme aims to:
Older people from communities throughout Manchester were invited to become ‘Culture Champions’. Champions are given a wide range of information about arts and culture events in the City, receive offers such as discounted tickets, and are invited to contribute to projects at specific cultural venues, e.g. volunteering at the Chinese Arts Centre.
Their role is then to share their insights, experiences and knowledge of the cultural programmes in Manchester with their friends, networks and local community and, where possible, to encourage and even support visits to the organisations involved in the project. Champions have been involved in co-programming themed ‘After Hours’ events at galleries for older audiences, participating in specially designed Culture tours, and testing experimental theatre projects.
They are a powerful resource for mobilising older people and stimulating interest in the cultural offer. An evaluation of the project found that involvement in the scheme had made Champions feel more confident, connected, informed and inspired.
The project is funded by Age Friendly Manchester – part of Public Health Manchester.
“One Culture Champion said of their experience of introducing others to the arts: ‘It was so thrilling to see them thrilled. I felt so inspired and privileged!’”
Who: Manchester City Council.
Age Friendly Manchester
Manchester City Council
Manchester, M60 2LA
Tel: 0161 234 5000