Gorton Visual Arts, based in Manchester, provide opportunities for older people and people with learning difficulties to gain new skills and work with professional artists on arts projects.

Gorton Visual Arts aims to provide opportunities that embrace a wide diversity of art practices that decrease the preconceptions surrounding isolated older people and people with learning difficulties. They do this by developing a programme of inter-generational activities, actively promoting social inclusion, social cohesion and self-worth, delivering work with an edge to maximize increased dialogue, and create better understanding between older people and all aspects of the community. As a community-focused arts facility they explore and share new ways of working together to gain new skills and learning.

One of the group’s art practices is photography. A recent project encouraged members to go out and meet local residents and take their picture, as well as taking pictures local buildings and areas.

Together, the group produced of a series of work in various forms that documents and captures a portrait of local people going about their daily business. The project provided a powerful opportunity to link the different generations of local people and communities, promoting increased social cohesion and increasing the members’ sense of community pride. It was displayed and celebrated at a local arts festival.

Marie, a member of Gorton Visual Arts said: “It was a very good project. I found a good number of remaining buildings around Hyde Road and Gorton to photograph, and it was also very interesting to talk to local people and take their photograph. That’s another new skill to add to the many others I have learned since joining Gorton Visual Arts!”

Local Council Ward Officer Heath Cole said that Gorton Visual Art’s work “instills pride in Gorton” and “provides a social setting that is safe and stimulating” to individuals who are often at risk of social exclusion or isolation. “It’s difficult to quantify but l have seen the huge difference this makes to individuals.”