Creative and cultural activities will be piloted at two Barnet libraries to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of residents who are lonely, socially isolated or living with dementia.

Barnet Council has been awarded £29,910 by Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants to help deliver the activities at Colindale and Chipping Barnet libraries.

The Loving Life creative health projects will be delivered in partnership with residents and a range of local organisations focused on older adults, including Age UK Barnet, from January 2025.

Those taking part in the initiative provide activities such as art, theatre and exercise classes, and the council is looking for other partners to get involved.

The activities will help to further Barnet’s commitment to becoming a dementia-friendly borough where people living with the condition are confident that they can contribute to community life.

Barnet has one of the highest recorded prevalences of dementia of all the London boroughs, with nearly 5,000 residents aged 65 and over living with the condition. With an ageing population, the council expects over 7,000 people to be living with dementia by 2040.

Cllr Anne Clarke, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Arts and Sports, said:

“We want to make Barnet a great place to live where all residents can play a full part in their communities.

“As well as helping people to learn, our libraries play a vital role in bringing people together, so I’m extremely pleased that they are receiving this funding to help improve the lives of people who are socially isolated, lonely or living with dementia.”

Helen Newman, Chief Executive at Age UK Barnet, said:

We are really pleased to hear that the libraries have been awarded this funding for activities in Chipping Barnet and Colindale.

“We know that our libraries are really valued by older people in our borough – as well as books, they offer crucial social connections, lifelong learning opportunities as well as a sense of belonging to a local community which are all important factors in increasing the wellbeing of our older people.

“We are looking forward to hearing more about the libraries plans and continuing our work together for the benefit of Barnet’s older residents.”

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