Older, less engaged, crafts, knitting, painting, sheltered housing, church group or community library

  • Group least likely to attend arts or cultural events
  • Tend to believe that the arts are no longer as important or relevant to them as perhaps they once were
  • Many live in sheltered or specially adapted accommodation for older people
  • Often excluded from many activities due to a raft of health, access and resource barriers
  • If they do engage this is likely to be participatory such as crafts, knitting, painting, reading and writing activities organised by their sheltered housing, church group or community library

COVID-19 Heydays Profile

  • Health and Wellbeing: Many in this group are elderly (51% over 70, for example), and/or have long-term health conditions (60% with conditions that have lasted or are expected to last over 12 months), which often requires regular care/support and many will have been shielding. The group most vulnerable to the virus, and to have been in care homes.
  • Income and Employment: Most don’t work or are retired, with relatively low retirement incomes. Small numbers of this group are students, who may have gone home.
  • Family and Relationships: 69% are retired older singles. Risk of isolation and resulting depression and deterioration of health conditions. Changes to ‘bubble’ rules may help this group particularly, although many will still be shielding.
  • Location and Environment: Many live in specially adapted of sheltered accommodation, or are housing association tenants, on the edges of cities or suburbs.
  • Arts and Culture: Least likely to engage in arts and culture. Outdoor leisure also likely to be difficult.
  • Digital and Streaming: Most are not ‘silver surfers’ – and are unlikely to access online arts and cultural content, beyond TV.
  • Importance of Arts: Lowest engagement and often think the arts are less important for them than they were (this may be a result of low accessibility, however).
  • Risk: This group is most vulnerable to the virus, but also to loneliness and isolation.
  • Other: Awareness of accessibility needs (e.g. provision of captioning, signing, audio-description, hearing loops) are particularly important for this group.

More about the impact of COVID-19 on audiences

More about Heydays

Lifestage & location

They can be found right across the country, but the biggest concentrations are in the North East and the North West in places like Sunderland, Blackpool and Liverpool. There are comparatively few in London. The majority don’t work or are retired.


Their current propensity to engage is very low. However, given their past enjoyment of a range arts and cultural activities, some may well enjoy the arts again if the barriers that prevent them from taking part can be addressed through tailored activities.

Cultural interests

A small proportion may attend arts events once a year or less often, and when they do it is most often for popular or mainstream events. Traditional offerings, like opera, ballet and classical music are less often attended, with this segment being the second least likely to attend such artforms after Facebook Families. It is very seldom that they will be found at contemporary or culturally specific events.

Almost a quarter go to the cinema to watch films, but they do so infrequently, most likely not more than once a year.

Their level of museum and gallery visiting is also very low – at less than half the national average – but is a marginally more common activity than arts attending; up to a quarter may visit museums annually.

For many in this group poor health and accessibility issues contribute particularly to them not visiting heritage sites, and the same reasons prevail for museums and arts. There are also a significant proportion who believe that the arts are simply not for them.


Other leisure interests

Heydays are not very active at all in comparison with people generally. Lifestage and circumstances dictate that most of their interests are centred on activities that can take place in and around the home. Watching television, listening to music, reading, doing crosswords and puzzles. Magazines are widely read especially TV/radio listings, and articles around countryside themes. Whilst they no longer attend the arts as they once may have done, they do enjoy reading arts and cultural magazine publications.

Heydays also enjoy occasional gardening, and some like making trips to restaurants to eat out or going for days out to visit places of interest. But this applies to a relatively small proportion of the group and at much lower levels of activity than are observed amongst many other segments.

Less than a third actively take part in sports and exercise activities, with DIY of relatively little interest. Internet usage also tends to be lower amongst this group in which the majority are not “silver surfers”.


They can be found right across the country, but the biggest concentrations are in the North East and the North West in places like Sunderland, Blackpool and Liverpool. There are comparatively few in London.


Creative participation

Smaller numbers also enjoy painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture.

Pursuits which require physical activity or leaving the home are taken up only by a very few. Heydays are amongst those people most likely not to participate in any creative activities at all.

29% have not participated in any of the creative activities in the last 12 months


The vast majority are retired, and living on low incomes – more than half live either on the state pension or less than £10,000 per year. Few people in this group entered higher education, with just over 40% having no formal qualifications at all. There is a high level of people who once pursued trade apprenticeships. Significantly more than half of all Heydays have long standing health problems, for which regular care and/or support is required.

Digital habits

The least digitally engaged of all the segments, over 40% do not use the internet at all and a similar number do not own mobile phones. Fewer still use smartphones.

Less than one in ten people will use the internet to browse museum, heritage or arts organisations’ websites. Of those who do, the majority do so to find out information about events or performers. They are less likely to book tickets online and they are very unlikely to view or download digital media content.

The use of social networking sites is low, of the small minority that do use them, they do so principally as a source of information. Only a very small percentage use social networks to discuss artistic events and experiences or to share media content.



Newspapers are an important media channel for Heydays with significant proportions taking the popular tabloids, such as The Sun and The Mirror, as well as local daily papers. A wide range of political persuasions are represented within this group.

Television is also influential, with many watching frequently. 95% have access to digital television channels, with a large majority accessing it via Freeview, rather than paid subscription channels.

Apart from television and newspapers, word of mouth is the most important means of seeking information as they rely heavily on recommendations and reassurance.

Postal mailings are also likely to elicit the best response from direct communications, whilst email/internet communications are widely avoided.

Community Involvement

Few people are involved in their local communities through volunteering. Age and related health issues are the most likely factors mitigating against this, with levels of volunteering about half the national average. However, amongst those who do volunteer, visiting lonely and isolated people, providing friendship and offering practical help such as driving people for shopping and appointments are strong features.

Of those who volunteer:
53% do so by giving practical help
18% do so by visiting people
13% do so by befriending or mentoring people


Heydays are the least likely to make donations to the arts and cultural sector, which they increasingly see as less relevant to them. With limited incomes, the very small minority that do give to the arts are only able to afford infrequent donations of less than £20.

Outside the arts, preferred charities tend to be related to charities working with the elderly or with animals.



Heydays are spread across the UK with large concentrations in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside. Often found on the edge of cities and in suburbs which are not close to the heart of any cultural offer, many live in sheltered or specially adapted accommodation such as local council or housing association tenants, mostly in older terraced housing, flats or bungalows.


The vast majority, 69% are retired older singles. Over 50% are aged 71 years or older, with a bias towards women because of longer life expectancy, and many have been widowed.

69% are elderly singles or families with no children under the age of 18
60% have a long-standing illness, disability or infirmity
Of these 89% report a limited activity as a consequence

Diversity of the segment

Whilst age is the chief defining feature of Heydays, the group also contains a small but notable subset of younger people who, age excepted, share many of the group’s other defining features such as lower income and educational status, single with no children and poorer health, living in similar locations with limited access to cultural provision and a much reduced interest or propensity to attend. This sub-group is aged between 18-25 and accounts for around 10% of households.

One of the least ethnically diverse groups, they do have a diverse range of health problems which impact activity, mobility, speech, hearing, sight and memory.

Segment best match

Arts Audiences Insight: Older & Homebound

Mosaic 2014: Vintage Value (69%)

However, as many used to enjoy attending and taking part in cultural activities, and many still exhibit an interest, through for example, their reading and music listening choices, there could be scope to engage some with specially tailored and organised activities.

There will be resource implications to developing these audiences and the results might be better measured by the quality, depth and value that those experiences may bring, rather than purely in terms of numbers.

Programme choice

The minority who presently do attend the arts have clear preferences for popular and mainstream styles, with musicals, live music, pantomime, drama and carnival being the most likely to appeal. Content and subject matter which affords the opportunity to reminisce or re-visit days gone by, or to link the past to the present might appeal, and there should certainly be opportunities for museums and heritage sites to cater for this need.


The arts and cultural sector have huge potential to enrich the lives of many within this often excluded or marginalised segment


The arts and cultural sector have huge potential to enrich the lives of many within this often excluded or marginalised segment. Various stakeholders such as local authorities, housing associations, care home providers, health authorities and trusts, voluntary organisations and charities working with the elderly or disabled have an interest in supporting positive interventions and funding available to support such initiatives.

Place: Environment

The opportunity arts and cultural events provide for social interaction is perhaps one of the most important motivations or attraction for many who lead relatively isolated or confined lives. Provision of welcoming spaces conducive to activities for Heydays’ needs will be an important feature, whether they happen in conventional venues, or the activity is taken to the home-base, (which increasingly it may have to be).

Place: Access & distance

Accessing arts events in conventional venues and spaces can prove challenging for many in this group. Deteriorating mobility, low car ownership, peripheral locations and relatively poor access to provision are barriers. It might be necessary to provide transport to and from events in access friendly venues, or take events to the audience, for example in care homes, day centres, social clubs or other community locations. It may also be important that events are assisted by captioning, signing, audio-description for those with impairments and disabilities.


Discount pricing is likely to be effective as part of the broader tailored marketing mix for Heydays whose income levels are low enough to make price an important factor in the decision whether to engage or not.



Digital communications are unlikely to reach this audience or chime with them. Traditional media channels, such as local newspapers, local radio and television will work better, and for direct communication, post will be the most effective.

However, Heydays are much more reliant on, and require reassurance and recommendations. This makes word of mouth an important tool. Talking directly to them, or getting people who they know and trust to talk to them will be an effective strategy. Cultivating networks or ambassadors in and around their community may be the best approach to achieving this.


Organising opportunities to engage Heydays in activities that they are able to take part in at home or in the places and spaces where they gather is likely to be a relatively effective strategy to increase participation. These might be tailored around existing interests, such as craft, or themes that are relevant to them like local history, gardening, music, reading and reminiscence activities.


Giving & volunteering

Limited financial means dictate that Heydays are not likely to provide a rich source of donations to the arts and cultural sector. The most successful strategies will be targeted at encouraging infrequent low level or one off giving within modest targets.

Relationship building

Providing accessible spaces and valued opportunities to socialise with like-minded peers, based around cultural activities, may be one of the best ways to build relationships with Heydays, either by enabling travel to venues or by taking such opportunities to their home or community.

Increasing reach & diversity

Heydays provide a rich, if challenging target market for increasing reach and diversity amongst a range of people who are often marginalised or excluded because of a wide range of factors, including age, income, education level, social status, disability and proximity to the cultural offer. Successfully engaging them will not be difficult but could potentially be costly. However, doing so through appropriate programmes and partnerships is likely to be hugely rewarding for both the audiences and the organisations serving them.