In response to this research and networking with care staff, I plan to develop a creative programme I can offer to care facilities in this area to fill in any gaps. This project is kindly funded by an a-n Artist self-determined professional development bursary.
I am a multi-disciplinary artist/arts and health practitioner specialising in narrative three-dimensional assemblage art that focuses on heritage and issue-based themes using place and identity as a foundation. These works often works become educational and reminiscence resources.
I have considerable experience creatively working with older people using a non-prescriptive approach focusing on the social process often with therapeutic outcomes. However much of my work has required traveling i.e The Whitworth (Fabulous Forgetful Friends Group), Trafford General Hospital (Wings and Things Artist in Residence in partnership with the Whitworth/Manchester Museum, Nantwich Museum (Dementia Friendship Group) and most recently EachStep, Blackley in partner with Community Integrated Care and Age Exchange. The furthest I have travelled to deliver workshops with those living with dementia was to Seoul, Korea in December 2018 at a conference, invited by MMCA and the British Council.
Along with my work further afield which I really enjoy, I now would like to develop a creative programme closer to home on Fylde. The a-n bursary came at a perfect time to help me take on the necessary research. This includes researching and networking with organisations caring for older people in the north west within a 10-mile radius of my home and studio which includes Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool. I have been busy making a list of care facilities using the Internet and word of mouth. I have been listing the name of the facilities, addresses, contact details, names of the managers and activity coordinators (if they have one). I am listing if they are CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered and if so, their rating. I think I have now collated all the facilities and have discovered within the Lytham St Annes area alone there are @ 44. Within a ten-mile radius which also includes Blackpool, Thornton-Cleveleys and Poulton-le-Fylde there are @110! It was considerably more than I thought.
During the time I have been doing internet research, I also contacted three facilities with Stella Matutina agreeing to meet with me on 15thMay. I discovered that they do occasionally pay for people to come in to deliver special activities. However, they have a hard time getting residents to engage regarding arts and crafts. I was told residents like making cards as this is an activity with a purpose. They sell their cards in the lobby.
During my visit I had brought in some objects as a sample of the type of things I bring in to my workshops to instigate discussion, spark memory, whilst supporting a creative activity. One object was a textile shuttle whereby the person I was meeting with mentioned that the 103 year-old resident playing dominoes at the other end of the room would know what it was. We went over and talked with her. I have never seen anyone’s eyes light up like she did. For the next few minutes she became very animated demonstrating how she used to use the shuttle. The outcome of the meeting was that I would get in touch when I had developed a workshop offer for them to consider.
I am now looking forward to contacting some of the facilities and set up appointments with them to discuss their possible creative needs.