Introducing Camilla, Our New Creative Projects Administrator!

Hey! My name is Camilla, I have recently started at Creative Arts East as the Creative Projects Administrator. I will be providing administrative support to the Kickstart East Anglia programme and Our Day Out. This will involve working alongside fellow colleagues at Creative Arts East and Festival Bridge, in particular collaborating with the Kickstart Community Administrator at Festival Bridge to develop and maintain the Kickstart training and peer learning network.

I have recently attended my first Our Day Out sessions in Wells-Next-The-Sea and Hunstanton. Our Day Out is a dementia inclusive set of creative workshops for all older people led by professional artists. This month, we’ve been working with artists Felicity and Caroline from Norwich University of the Arts, who have nurtured the artistic interests of the attendees against a backdrop of jazz music, working with fabrics to create a collage – not forgetting the tea and cake too! The fabric collages the participants created were fabulous. Each person I spoke to had their own unique way of interpreting the music and fabric collage composition. The result was a fantastic array of creations. The flow of the session cavorted between chatter and laughter in one corner, to deep concentration in another. Overall, it was an incredibly rich and rewarding experience for all!

Felicity and Caroline have also created video featuring the activities we have been carrying out at the most recent Our Day Out sessions which you can watch below.

I’m really looking forward to getting involved with the creative projects that Creative Arts East provides. In particular, having the opportunity to be more creative myself by learning how to do the technical aspects of videos, learning more about marketing and including some of my photography in my creative writing blogs for Our Day Out. It’s exciting to be able to include some of my creative interests, such as writing and photography on Creative Arts East’s website. I’m also looking forward to working with Jack from Festival Bridge on the Kickstart network and being involved with other young people who have the same interests as I do, especially anything to do with music, which is one of my passions. I believe the arts is an incredibly important part of our lives and enhances each one of us, so I feel very grateful to be a part of this amazing organisation and to see how it impacts and shapes people’s lives. I’m very excited for my time at Creative Arts East!

I’ll be posting regular blogs in the coming months so please keep an eye out for more from me soon!

Take care!


Christmas Creative Wellbeing Packs

Hello everyone, it’s me again – Sydney! I am feeling VERY festive indeed! It has been absolutely wonderful to stop by and see some of you as part of our doorstep visits this month, with our amazing musicians Kim and Joe.

This month’s wellbeing packs have been combined to created one super-duper bumper pack, full of lots of festive craft activities, curated by the lovely Genevieve. To accompany the packs, Genevieve has made videos showing you how to do the crafts included in the packs:


I have also been creating some Christmas decorations of my own, using only…. paper! Here is a video which tells you how to make origami trees. I strung mine together to make a little festive garland to go under my shelf!


If you have anything to share, such as your examples of mindful colouring or your response to the music you can email them to me at or post them on our Facebook page! If you need any help sharing, you can give us a call and we will try our best to walk through it together.

Ta-ra for now and Merry Christmas!

Sydney x


Let’s Have a (Virtual) Tea Dance!

Our friends over at Britten Pears are running a virtual tea dance next week on Tuesday 8th December, and our Our Day Out participants are getting involved too! Usually they hold a tea dance every December at Snape Maltings, bringing together care homes, local community groups and dancing enthusiasts alike to enjoy music, dancing, tea and cake. Of course, like us and so many other organisations, they’ve had to adapt due to the pandemic and restrictions in place, so this year they’ll be holding the tea dance online!

We usually hold celebration gatherings ourselves as part of the Our Day Out programme, which bring participants from all of our different groups across Norfolk together to share in music and dance activities as a collective. Past celebrations events we’ve held include a Strictly Come Dancing-style extravaganza, a Big Sing, trips to Cley Nature Reserve, and a backstage tour of Rambert headquarters in London. Obviously this year, we haven’t been able to host these as we usually would, so we’re delighted to be taking part in Britten Pears’ Virtual Tea Dance this year.

The event will last 45 minutes, and includes a seven-piece big band, a presenter and professional dancers. There will be an opportunity for you to learn some dance moves and sing along. To make the event even more special, they suggest having a teacup and teaspoon at the ready to join in with some musical activity, and having some tea and cake to hand. You could even dress up! If you check out the trailer below, you may even spot some familiar faces, such as Laura and Sarah from Glass House Dance and opera singer Rob Gildon, who have both previously worked on the Our Day Out project!

Our Project Support Worker Sydney will be hosting a pre-tea dance Zoom session for our ODO and Operation: No Cold Shoulder participants at 1.30pm on Tuesday 8th, so if you want to join this then do get in touch with her here. You can find all the information about the tea dance here on the Snape Maltings website, including song-lyrics, bunting making instructions, and more!

We hope to see you there, tea cup in hand and ready to dance!



Creative Arts East are taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year – a match-funding campaign to raise £,2000 in individual giving. Every donation, no matter how small, will be DOUBLED by pledges we’ve already gathered. To give what you can, please visit The campaign is live from 12pm 1st December – 12pm 8th December.

Arts, Health & Wellbeing: How Our Day Out Makes a Difference

If you’ve been following our blog and other communication channels over the last few months, you’ll know that the way we deliver our flagship arts, health and wellbeing programme Our Day Out (dementia-inclusive creative workshops for all older people led by professional artists) has had to change dramatically since March, as organisations everywhere responded to the pandemic and subsequent government safety rules.

The remote Creative Wellbeing Packs we now offer, not just to our regular participants but to all older people in Norfolk and beyond, are going from strength to strength. With this in mind, and with 2020 coming to an end soon, we wanted to reflect on some of the key achievements of the Our Day Out programme over the last 3 years since the project began, and share some of the substantial successes it has achieved in terms of the links between arts, health and wellbeing.

Impact Report

In collaboration with our principle funder Spirit of 2012, we published an Impact Report containing the significant findings and analysis to come out of the project from 2016-2019. Take a look at some of the key statistics above, including our academically validated wellbeing data (more on this in the report, read it in full here).


Journal of Dementia Care

Since the beginning of Our Day Out we have worked with Dr Hannah Zeilig, who has provided us with invaluable academic insight and independent evaluation of the project, offered further analysis of our approach, and conducted interviews with participants. Dr Zeilig has also written about the project in her own research as well as in external publications. Her latest article appeared in the July/August 2020 edition of the Journal of Dementia Care, and focuses on Our Day Out’s particular mission in reaching people living with dementia living in rural communities.


Press and Publicity

Our Day Out has garnered increasing local press attention since the pandemic, and fed into national conversations about dementia, isolation, and the benefits of arts activity on health and wellbeing.

In April 2020, our Executive Director Natalie Jode appeared on BBC Radio Norfolk as part of their coverage on how local organisations have adapted their work in response to the pandemic. Natalie focused on how Our Day Out was responding, and also introduced the premiere of beautiful original song ‘A Day In With Our Day Out’ written by Mary Lovett and Kimberley Moore, two local musicians who had previously led workshops through the project and were the first artists to adapt their planned sessions into Creative Wellbeing Packs.

We also appeared on BBC Look East as part of their World Alzheimer’s Day coverage in September 2020. Their focus was on the profound impact that music can have on people living with dementia, and they interviewed one of our participants about her experience seeing her late husband respond to music during the later stages of his dementia.


Awards and Accolades

In 2019, we entered Our Day Out into the Royal Society for Public Health Awards under the Arts and Health category. We were nominated alongside some other incredibly worthy programmes, and so when we named as the winners, we were absolutely overjoyed. To have our programme recognised on such a national scale, and celebrate alongside project partners was without a doubt one of the stand-out moments for the organisation in 2019. The prestigious kitemark reignited our determination to break into the social prescribing framework, and has started to help us do so. Read more about our win here.

We are also nominated for a Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance Award – the Collective Power Award, which was presented in conjunction with Ideas Alliance, and celebrates the power of collaboration between different sectors that helps make projects like ours a success. We achieved ‘Highly Commended’ status, and were one of the runners up for the award, which we were incredibly pleased with, considering the stiff competition from other fantastic projects.


What Does Our Day Out Look Like Now?

Since the start of the pandemic, we have been continuing delivery of Our Day Out remotely, through a carefully curated series of free Creative Wellbeing Packs, sent twice-monthly. Each pack is based on a theme in collaboration with a different professional artist and contains activities to encourage gentle physical movement, keep the mind busy, and other ways for recipients to feel creative and connected from home. We also offer opportunities for them to share their creations, keep in touch with us and access extra content through our private Facebook group, website blog and regular phone-calls. We’ve worked particularly hard lately to make the packs image-rich so that they are as accessible as possible, and we also provide accompanying materials such as audio CDs where needed. So far, the pack themes have included Jazz, Typography and Bollywood to name a few!

We are also thrilled to announce that thanks to new funding from Independent Age, we are now able to offer the Creative Wellbeing Packs free of charge to all older people, whether they have previously engaged in the in-person Our Day Out workshops or not. This offer is available for those living in Norfolk and beyond, and we’re so pleased that now we will be able to reach more older people who may benefit from creative engagement at home during this difficult time.

If you are or know an older person who might enjoy and benefit from receiving twice-monthly Creative Wellbeing Packs, or are a health and/or social care professional who wants to collaborate with us to refer people on to the programme, then please do get in touch. You can phone us on 01953 713390 or email for more information.


We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a message of thanks to all our funders, not just of the Our Day Out programme but of Creative Arts East as a whole and our other projects. Your patience, support and flexibility in working with us to trial new approaches to delivery where possible during this time has been invaluable.



Creative Arts East are taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year – a match-funding campaign to raise £,2000 in individual giving. Every donation, no matter how small, will be DOUBLED by pledges we’ve already gathered. To give what you can, please visit The campaign is live from 12pm 1st December – 12pm 8th December.

Our Day Out & Creative Wellbeing Packs!

Hello everyone, It’s Sydney here, giving you a warm welcome to the very special Creative Arts East Blog!

We hope that you are keeping well, we have certainly been enjoying our phone calls with you all and hope that you enjoyed receiving our first ‘Creative Wellbeing Pack’. We’ll be using this blog page to share additional information about the wellbeing packs, ‘Our Day Out‘ updates, and news from our wonderful artists and the Creative Arts East Team!

Our first wellbeing pack was themed around singing/music making, and our artists Mary Lovett and Kimberley Moore worked extremely hard putting together a lovely CD for our regular participants (which I hope you have all been singing along to at home!). Kim has also spent time making some illustrated videos to go with the fabulous songs you created using the ‘Random Song Generator’ and the ‘Mindful Song writing’ exercises. We thought you might enjoy watching them…


If you want to access more of the videos Click here

In our phone calls with you we’ve been sharing a few ‘Good News’ stories with each other, and it is wonderful hearing that so many of you have had baking successes, spotted new animals in your gardens and completed the wordsearch from the first Wellbeing Pack. We will be continuing to share our ‘Good News’ and would love to mention some of the great things you are all getting up to in our next blog post! You can share them with us in our next phone call, via email, or on our brand new Our Day Out Participant Facebook Page.

The next ‘Creative Wellbeing Pack’ has a ‘Jazz Theme’ and we’ll be sending this to you next week, so do let us know if you have any friends, family or neighbours who you think would benefit from receiving one too. You can contact us by calling Sydney on 01953 713395 or email

We are looking forward to talking again soon.

Ta-ra for now,

Sydney and the Creative Arts East Team x

More information and content from Mary and Kim can be found on their websites:



What A Year! Our Highlights of 2018

2018 was a huge year for us here at CAE. We’ve been shouting much louder about the significant and transformative impact the arts can have on rural communities, particularly in terms of health, wellbeing and aspirations, and have been committed as always to demonstrating this throughout all of our work. This culminated in us being crowned ‘Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year’ at the East of England Regional Finals of the Rural Business Awards, and we’ll be heading to the National Finals in February 2019 to compete against the winners of the other regions. The team have so many other highlights of 2018, and we’ve picked out a few of them to share below!

Our Day Out Celebration Events: One of our favourite parts of running the Spirit of 2012-funded Our Day Out project (participatory music and dance workshops for isolated older people in Norfolk), is when we bring all the groups together to meet up, sing and dance as one. In 2018 we had two fantastic events with our 6 groups: The Big Sing in March with musicians Mary and Kim, and the Sharing Day at Cley Wildlife Centre in October with Glass House Dance and Les Chappell. It’s such a joy to see our participants share in creativity and see just how much they get out of attending the sessions.

Films With Friends: We teamed up with South Norfolk Council and East of England Co-op to deliver the Films With Friends Project – an initiative aimed at making village cinema more accessible for people living with dementia and to raise awareness about the condition. Seven of our South Norfolk cinema groups took part – they received Dementia Friends sessions at their screenings; a ‘how to’ guide and training from academic specialists; and bespoke marketing to increase awareness amongst the wider community that these groups are taking steps to become more dementia friendly.

Take On Me: This was definitely one of the most exciting projects we got involved with last year! We teamed up with award-winning theatre company Dante or Die as they toured their 80s themed show ‘Take On Me’ to leisure centres across the country. We helped them bring it to Alive Oasis in Hunstanton, West Norfolk, and worked with an amazing Local Coordinator Debbie and an outstanding community cast to make the show happen. Our favourite outcome was the life-changing impact the experience had on the community cast, with many telling us how taking part had improved their confidence enormously.

Writers’ Residencies and Commissions with Inn Crowd: Last year, we’ve worked with the National Centre for Writing to commission two writers’ residencies in rural Norfolk pubs, as part of the Inn Crowd project. Inn Crowd supports rural pubs to host live spoken-word inspired performances and to engage different audiences that perhaps wouldn’t normally attend arts events, and reinforces the pub as an important community hub. Acclaimed spoken-word artists Byron Vincent and Luke Wright both spent time in different rural communities in Norfolk in 2018, observing rural life and how the pub functions as part of this. Their observations have formed part of new work, which will be touring pubs in 2019.

Our First Fundraiser: In December, we held our first ever fundraising quiz! We’re aiming to raise £25,000 during our anniversary year to ensure we can continue to make a difference to rural communities for another 25 years, and our Christmas Quiz was the first big event we’ve done to help us reach this target. It was a fantastic night, with friends, family, staff and board members joining in on the fun. Keep an eye on our social media and newsletter for the total amount raised!

So that’s some of our highlights of 2018… what are yours? Were you involved with or did you attend any Creative Arts East-supported projects last year? What were your favourites?

We’re looking forward to an exciting 2019 ahead, so do keep up to date with all of our news, content and upcoming events via our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and monthly e-newsletter.

Keep Dancing! Norfolk’s Older Generation Learn to Belly Dance

Hopefully you’ve had chance to read our last blog post, which was all about our Big Sing event in March, celebrating the ‘Our Day Out’ participatory singing and dance workshops. Every three months, we work with different professional artists to deliver brilliant participatory arts sessions, specifically designed to engage Norfolk’s older generation in creativity and culture. The Big Sing event in March marked the end of our groups’ time with local singers Mary and Kim, but did signal the beginning of perhaps the most ambitious activity our groups have tried yet – belly dancing!

Our participants have taken part in their fair share of dance styles before, including tea dances and contemporary ballet with renowned company Rambert, but since April, our groups in Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford have been trying out a completely new style with the brilliant Henrietta from Zahara Belly Dance. Music and dance activities have been proven to have a huge impact on the wellbeing of older people, especially those living with dementia, which is why our sessions focus on engaging our participants in these activities. It’s fantastic that by working with Henrietta, Creative Arts East are able to offer our participants the chance to try something different.

 Henrietta said about the sessions:

I am really enjoying delivering a series of belly dance sessions for ‘Our Day Out’ in Dereham, Thetford and Attleborough. Everyone joins in as we shimmy and jingle wearing the brightly coloured hip scarves. There is lots of laughter and joy as we dance together. It is such a rewarding experience for me, bringing my passion for the dance to a new group of people and seeing them respond to the music and moves. Belly dance has the ability to transport people to a different place where we can feel the music and just dance together. I am so pleased to be involved in the project.”

Not only are the belly dancing sessions an excellent way for Norfolk’s older generation to remain active and mobile, and in the words of one of our budding belly dancer Sylvia from Attleborough, they’re also “a good laugh”! They can be tailored for any ability, undertaken seated or standing, and are fully inclusive to those with dementia and other long-term health conditions. The sessions take place twice a month in Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford, and we are also running music-making workshops twice a month with our Watton, North Walsham, and Wells-next-the-Sea groups. For full dates and details, visit our website here, or contact We’re always looking for volunteers to help out and more participants to take part, so do get in touch!

The ‘Our Day Out’ project is funded by Spirit of 2012 Trust, with additional funding supplied by Breckland Council and North Norfolk District Council. For more information about Henrietta’s fantastic belly dancing sessions, visit her website here.

The Big Sing: A Recap of a Great Day Out

As well as our core rural touring schemes (Creative Arts East Screen and Live!), we also deliver a variety of projects in the Eastern region, which involve different community groups. Over the last few years, one of our biggest projects has become ‘Our Day Out’. This project began in 2016, with the help of our major funding partner, Spirit of 2012 Trust. As part of the project, we work with professional artists to deliver creative, participatory music and dance workshops specifically designed to involve the older generation in arts and cultural activity. We run sessions twice a month in 6 different locations across Norfolk, with the artists leading the sessions  changing every 3 months. The project offers participants the chance to meet new people, have fun, and get creative, all in a dementia-inclusive environment.

Since January, the sessions have been delivered by local musical artists Mary and Kim, and participants have been taking part in singing workshops, singing favourites from yesteryear, learning new styles, and even trying their hand at song-writing! To mark the end of Mary and Kim’s time with our participants, we brought all of the groups together for a ‘Big Sing’ on Thursday 29th March at Dereham Memorial Hall.

The Big Sing was a fantastic celebration of the songs the participants have been learning over the last few months, and it gave everyone the opportunity to meet people from the other groups. Each of the 6 groups had been working on their own verse of the sea shanty ‘In This Windy Old Weather’ over the course of the sessions, and so ‘The Big Sing’ allowed all the groups to join their verses together and create their own personalised version of this classic song. As well as the singing, there was laughter, chatter, and of course, no ‘Our Day Out’ event would be complete without refreshments, so we made sure there was plenty of tea and cake on hand!

Our funders, Spirit of 2012 Trust, attended the Big Sing, and said this about the success of the event:

“It was a great event and the joy amongst participants was palpable when they were singing and in the breaks. It was genuinely moving to see what a great time they were having and the release that singing and being in a group can bring. Spirit of 2012 is very proud to fund such an inclusive and inspirational project, bringing people together to have fun, make friends and explore their creativity. ”

We’ve loved partnering with Mary and Kim, and are looking forward to our next lot of ‘Our Day Out’ sessions kicking off this week! The artists we’ll be working with from April till June will be Tessa Wingate, and Zahara Belly Dance. Half of the groups will make more music with Tessa, while the other half will join Zahara with gentle belly dancing-style movements! Check out the upcoming sessions here!

Wells-next-the-Sea (The Sackhouse at Wells Maltings, Jicklings Yard, Wells-Next-The-Sea, NR23 1AU)

Tuesday 10th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 24th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 8th May 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 22th May 1pm-3pm

Thetford (Thetford Methodist Church, Tanner St, Thetford IP24 2BQ)

Friday 6th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 20th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 4th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 18th May 2pm-4pm

Dereham (The Meeting Point, St Withburga Lane, Dereham, NR19 1DF)

Friday 13th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 27th April 10am-12pm
Friday 11th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 25th May 10am-12pm

Watton (Christian Community Centre, 57 High Street, Watton, IP25 6AB)

Thursday 5th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 19th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 3rd May 2pm-4pm
Thursday 17th May 2pm-4pm

Attleborough (St Mary’s Community Hall, Church Street, Attleborough NR17 2AH)

Friday 13th April 10am-12pm
Friday 27th April 1:15pm-3:15pm
Friday 11th May 10am-12pm
Friday 25th May 1:15pm-3:15pm

North Walsham (Cameo Café, Furze Hill Resource Centre, 73 Happisburgh Road, North Walsham, NR28 9HD)

Thursday 12th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 26th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 10th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 24th May 1:30pm-3:30pm


If you’d like more information about the project, whether it’s joining in yourself or recommending a friend or family member, please do get in touch on 01953 713390. We’re always looking for volunteers as well, so get in touch if you want to give back to your local community by helping out at the sessions.