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Northumbria arts project brings care home residents joy during challenging times

Monday, 15 November, 2021
Northumbria arts project brings care home residents joy during challenging times

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has collaborated with care homes in Northumberland and North Tyneside to deliver an arts project to commemorate Remembrance Day.

Funded by the trust’s Bright charity with support from NHS Charities Together, the project is part of the trust’s healing arts programme, which uses art as a therapeutic medium to improve the quality of patient environments.


The artistic theme was Remembrance Sunday and involved residents sharing memories and anecdotes about World War 1, passed on to them by older relatives, neighbours and family friends.


The project took place in two care homes, Collingwood Court in North Shields and Castleview in Alnwick.


Starter packs with images and written materials were sent to the care homes to provide to spark ideas and interest, encouraging residents, their family members, and other care staff to get involved.


The project was facilitated by a local artist working in partnership with residents and staff. Due to Covid19 restrictions, the care home activity coordinators were guided by the artist to work with the residents.


Jennifer Gomm, Activity Coordinator at Castleview care home said:


“We are delighted to see the finished artwork. Working on the project encouraged residents to communicate more, sparking interesting conversations between each other and the staff. We have seen them express emotional responses as they reminisced and shared their stories. Having the artworks hung in the home will also enable residents and staff to reflect, keeping these memories alive”


Maggie Harrison, manager at Collingwood Court home has said:


“It’s wonderful to see the completed artwork.  Our residents thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this project, it gave them an opportunity to share their memories with each other, and it is going to be fantastic having their art displayed within the home.”


Brenda Longstaff, head of Northumbria Healthcare’s Bright charity, said:


“We believe in the power of the arts to improve the quality and well-being of life.


“The aim of this specific project was for our care home residents to enjoy creating artworks on an individual or a group basis – whichever participants prefer.”


The pieces created, including needlework, poems and letters have been assembled to frame and display within the care homes, providing a lasting focus for further reminiscence.