The role of local authorities in creative ageing

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Cutler D

Year of Publication:

Baring Foundation

Publication Type:


How a focus on the arts for older people can enhance local authorities’ delivery and effectiveness, often without huge financial resources.
The report includes case studies from each of the four corners of the UK showcasing examples of great work by local councils with very different populations and using different approaches, to support creative ageing in their areas. This is a second edition of a report first published in 2013.

Local authorities are in a ideal position to encourage and facilitate arts for older people because of their unique combination of roles and interests, which include citizens’ health and wellbeing, local arts and culture, older people’s services, social inclusion and community leadership.
Key Messages:
An ageing society is a cause for celebration but brings with it an increased demand for local services and funds, including for local authorities.
This compounds the pressure on local authorities at a time of severe funding cuts.
The arts are effective at connecting isolated and lonely older people with the wider community, including across generations.
There is good evidence that the arts have a positive impact on the physical and mental well-being of older people, including those living with dementia. This is acknowledged for instance in National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance.
This means that the arts are a good way for local authorities to deliver key policies such as prevention and supporting older people continuing to live at home.
The arts can also help social care services run better, for instance by supporting the retention of care staff through offering more fulfilling jobs.
Local authorities have roles and interests regarding health and well-being; leadership.
This combination of roles make local authorities uniquely well placed to take a lead on arts and older people.
However, most local authorities have yet to acknowledge these connections and to fully engage with arts and older people.

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Cutler,D. (2017). The role of local authorities in creative ageing. UK: The Baring Foundation.