We are taking our learning in creative commissioning into new sectors and building new partnerships with the cultural sector in Torbay. Starting with the care homes sector, we are expanding reach of the arts and heritage to have the greatest positive impact on people's lives. 


Torbay’s skilled participatory arts practitioners won us Cultural Commissioning Locality Project status in 2014 and since then we have learned much about being 'commission ready' and forming effective relationships, initially with the health sector. We are keen to build on our work in Arts, Health and Wellbeing and forge sustainable creative commissioning partnerships with other sectors.

We believe there is great potential to develop work within the care homes sector. Torbay has the third highest number of care homes and beds in England and Torbay's creative practitioners have already led a number of innovative projects in this area. Good practice in residential care underlines the importance of communication between staff and residents (and their support network) using a variety of methods which reflect their individual needs. As there can be a diversity in backgrounds, expectations, languages and cultures of both residents and staff it is important to ensure that these differences do not lead to poor care or relationships. We believe that creative practices can help to address this challenge.

Through the Cultural Commissioning Locality Project, we identified a number of other sectors with which we could develop creative commissioning relationships, in order to reach out to those people who stand to benefit the most from engaging with culture.


Using the approaches and frameworks developed in our Arts, Health and Wellbeing project, we will initially work with Torbay Council’s Partnerships, People and Housing Team to establish the impact of cultural engagement on care home residents’ physical and mental health and well-being. We will co-design a 'test and learn' project to explore innovative and existing good practice, what good care looks like, ways to promote good communication and understand the impact that has on satisfaction for staff, and good outcomes for residents and their family and friends.

This project will deliver a creative consultation to care home residents, staff, friends and family members and others working within the care sector, and will create a Residents' Charter setting out the rights of those living in care homes in Torbay.

The evaluation and learning from this project will lead us on to proactively pursue new strategic partnerships, working with specialist development support where appropriate to fully understand the needs of a particular industry or service that cultural engagement might help to meet.


The objectives of our Arts in Care Homes and Beyond project are to:

  • Empower care home residents to engage in creative activity; build stronger, more trusting relationships between care home residents and staff; develop agreement on what ‘good care' looks like to increase the standard of care in homes across Torbay
  • Identify new, cost-effective routes for existing and new partners (including the care homes sector) to deliver their desired outcomes through arts, culture and heritage and to ensure they know how and why to commission creative practitioners
  • Ensure that creative practitioners are commission-ready and have new routes to be commissioned to deliver their work in new sectors, including the care homes sector
  • Make possible new, self-managed cultural commissions from the care home sector, and other sectors.

Our key strategic partners in the first phase of this work are Torbay Culture and Arts Network (TCAN) and Torbay Council.

Our commissioned delivery partner for the 'What Does Good Care Look Like?' test and learn project is Encounters Arts, jointly funded by Torbay Council and by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of Torbay's Great Place Scheme.

If you would like to know more about our work in this area, please contact us on


The outline timescales for this project are as follows:

July - August 2017: Write brief for care homes 'test and learn' project and commission the creative practitioner (complete)

September 2017 - March 2018: Co-design and delivery of care homes 'test and learn' project (complete)

June 2018: Launch of the Torbay Residents' Charter (complete). You can view the Charter online here and Torbay's care providers can sign up via Torbay Council at

Ongoing: Develop generic creative commissioning frameworks, processes and documentation that can be applied to future projects and shared with other sectors (underway).

Ongoing: Sharing learning of care homes 'test and learn' project and exploratory conversations with other sectors (underway).

Video credits
Film and video: Wonder Associates | Josh Pratt | Lisa Gardiner
Music credit and copyright: Blue Dot Sessions | Fabian Measures

“Torbay Culture has helped give a voice to some of our most vulnerable citizens through creatively engaging residents in care homes on what good care looks and feels like. Some of those who enjoyed this experience and told us what matters most to them have not participated in other activities for many years.”

– Frances Mason, Head of Partnerships, People and Housing, Torbay Council