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Northumbria arts project brings care home residents joy during challenging times

Wednesday, 11 November, 2020
Northumbria arts project brings care home residents joy during challenging times

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

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, which is funded by Northumbria’s Bright Charity.


The theme is Remembrance Day and has involved residents sharing memories and anecdotes about World War 1, passed on to them by older relatives, neighbours, family friends, or history lessons at school


The project is currently taking place in two care homes, Collingwood Court in North Shields and Castle View in Alnwick.


Initial packs with images and written material were sent to the care homes to provide a starting point, hopefully sparking ideas, interest and encouragement to residents, their family members, and any other care staff who would like to get involved.


The project is being facilitated for Northumbria by a local artist working in partnership with participants and staff. Due to Covid19 restrictions, the sessions are taking place via online videos.


Stephen Dunn, manager at Castle View care home has said:


“The arts project has encouraged some interesting conversations with our residents and from this, we have seen them express emotional responses as they reminisce. It has been a welcome distraction from the challenge that Covid19 has presented so far, and continues to do so.”


Patricia Lavender, Lifestyle Lead at Collingwood Care home has said:


“This project in particular, has brought our residents closer together with people they may not usually communicate with. It has given them an opportunity to share their memories with each other, helping to promote good friendships.”


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 is for our care home residents to enjoy creating artworks on an individual or a group basis – whichever participants prefer.”


The project will be running for one month, and once finished, the pieces created will be assembled at the end for framing and display within the care homes to provide a lasting focus for further reminiscence.