Happy Older People (HOP) is a professional network which promotes age-friendly arts participation.
Commissioned by National Museums Liverpool (NML) OpenCulture established and produced the HOP network to connect older people with art, culture and wellbeing activity across the Liverpool city region.
Our key aim from the outset was to work with older people who may be experiencing social isolation and/or loneliness, and who are not accessing leisure and cultural opportunities perhaps because of barriers such as lack of transport, poor mobility or a lack of social networks.
Working with NML on HOP for 4 years between 2014 – 2017, we created a significant and strategic network that was backed up by a strong vision, values and aims that has been key to the long-term success of HOP and always keeps older people and their creativity at its heart.
“HOP has allowed us to bring older people from general needs housing, plus care and support residents out who all suffer from community isolation and loneliness to access arts and culture in Liverpool.”
— Margaret Kelly, Lee Valley Pensioners Club
From its inception the HOP network consisted of older people, arts organisations, health and social care providers and community groups, and to this day still strives to connect older people to the age friendly arts offer across the city and the region.
Throughout our four years of project management and delivery, it was essential we regularly researched the regional and national age friendly cultural offer. This introduced us and the network to some fascinating best practice, projects and speakers; encouraging the network membership to cultivate new partnerships whilst fostering new approaches and improving their skills.
“We are delighted with the success of the HOP network…. We want to celebrate the achievements and creativity of older people in this great city and believe the HOP network will enable Liverpool to fulfil its ambition to become Age Friendly.”
— Claire Benjamin, Deputy Director, Education and Visitors, National Museums Liverpool
Between 2014 – 2017 Open Culture organised and delivered all aspects of HOP which consisted of numerous key elements, including managing and growing the membership, and devising and hosting quarterly networking events for the members. These were particularly successful at creating new introductions and partnerships that importantly made a difference to older people who were isolated and lonely. We also created of an identifiable brand, website, monthly e-newsletter and social media that kept member informed and updated. Plus, the successful grant giving HOP Pots, which acted as an effective catalyst for a more age friendly arts offer across the city region.
Participating member organisations included Liverpool Philharmonic, FACT, Bluecoat, One Latin Culture, Pagoda Arts, Royal Court Theatre alongside Local Solutions, Pine Court Housing Association, Liverpool CCG, University of Liverpool and Merseytravel as well as community led organisations like Dingle History Group, the African Elders, Lee Valley Pensioners Club, Merseyside Jewish Community Care and the League of Welldoers.
In 2017 when we handed HOP as a project to be managed by National Museums Liverpool it consisted of 232 active members(126 arts and culture sector, 43 health and social care sector, 43 individuals,13 in the housing sector and 5 in the education sector).
We’d conducted strategic networking and outreach activity with older person focused community groups and organisations across Merseyside. We’d devised and hosted 12 quarterly network meetings, each attracting between 45-90 participants, with guest speakers from across the art and cultural sector nationally.
Through the HOP Pot Grant programme we had facilitated 243 sessions of creative activity helping 3,685 older people access arts and culture, some for the first time!
We had also built an identifiable brand which is still used to promote age friendly arts activity, created the website happyolderpeople.com, and produced a monthly e-newsletter.
“HOP is a great example of many benefits of arts and other organisations working together to engage older people in cultural activities. This work is sensitive to the real experience and wishes of older people and capitalises on Liverpool’s unique history, civic pride and world class arts. It is a leader in the field of arts and older people in the UK and a model that would benefit many other cities.”
— David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation
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Open Culture are available to consult for other organisations who are keen to build and produce successful arts and health networks. Get in touch if you'd like to hear how we can support you.