CREATIVE activities aimed at older people will be posted online twice a week to help combat loneliness and isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Professional artists who work regularly with older people will lead the informal, accessible workshops across a range of forms from craft to dance, poetry and music.

Luminate@Home began this week when visual artist Christine Hilditch showed viewers how to make a recycled paper bird. Yesterday, choreographer Chris Stuart-Wilson led a dance session. Both remain available to watch.

“You can do the dance activity quite energetically – if you choose to,” said Anne Gallacher, director of Luminate, the creative ageing organisation leading the project in partnership with Scottish Care, which represents independent providers of social care.

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“Chris has designed it so you can take it at a much slower pace if you wish, depending on your ability. You can do it from your chair, too. Chris is a great artist to be involved in this project because he works with people of all levels of ability and dance experience.”

More dance and movement sessions are planned, with choir leader and harpist Corrina Hewat (pictured) leading a singing activity this coming Tuesday.

Just as older people are missing contact with others, artists are missing sharing their creativity, says Gallacher. Luminate@Home allows artists to continue those relationships and keep up their creative practise. With the help of tips from filmmaker Graeme Roger, each artist shoots their activity with whatever equipment they have at home. They will be edited and uploaded to Luminate’s website and social media channels every Tuesday and Friday. “We wanted to present the films in whatever way is useful to people,” Gallacher said. “This way, if somebody wants a little bit of routine they can log on and watch an activity when it goes up at 2pm – or they can watch it later.

“A care home co-ordinator wanted to use a couple of them as part of an activity for residents.”

As Luminate has developed from an annual festival to a year-round programme, there’s been a growing understanding of the positive impact of taking part in creative activities, especially as we get older. Gallacher said: “We’re very aware people just now feel very isolated. We wanted to see if we could try something out which just might help. While we are learning an awful lot as we go, it’s clear it’s important to have a variety of things which will be enjoyed in different ways with different benefits.

“Dance is perhaps the most obvious, from that perspective, as you can see it’s going to be fun to do and people will enjoy the music. It’s also about keeping physically active, whereas a poetry session could be much more about keeping you mentally active.”

Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, said: “Luminate has immense experience of bringing the best of the creative arts to Scotland’s older population. I am absolutely delighted to support Luminate@Home. The ‘shielding’ which has been necessary to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens inevitably means people are going to feel isolated and shut off.

“Anything that helps to reduce the fear and anxiety of isolation, to create a bridge to the outside world; anything which helps people to remain active and creative is to be hugely welcomed.”

Tuesdays and Fridays, 2pm, free. Tel: 0131 668 8066.