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Sarah Villis, Learning inclusion co-ordinator, University of Cambridge museums Sarah works on The Age Well project which aims to support older people’s health and wellbeing through cultural connections, particularly those who experience barriers to engagement.
It brings together several existing programmes like ‘Dance with the Museum’ (partners Cambridge City Council Sheltered Housing Schemes and the Independent Living Service) and Portals to the World (partner Dementia Compass).
The project has started to establish new partnerships and courses, including working with Cambridgeshire GP Network and Meridian Primary Care Network (PCN) on their Worthwhile Waiting programme using social prescribing for people waiting for Musculoskeletal treatments on the NHS.
We are also seeking to strengthen and expand our partnerships with Arthur Rank Hospice and Addenbrookes Hospital.
Museums have long understood their strength as social spaces and places that contain ‘things that matter’, but how can this reach those experiencing loneliness and isolation? As loneliness is increasingly recognised as a social challenge, how can museums contribute to making a difference? This session explores the potential for museums to contribute to tackling loneliness, particularly in older people, focusing on a series of programmes at the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) – and considers what we learnt from finding new ways to continue connecting people when COVID meant we could no longer bring people together in our museums, and what we can build on as we consider the future of our work with older people.