For the last two years, thanks to funding by Arts Council England, we’ve been running projects to benefit those living with dementia, and encouraging venues to engage more with people living with dementia and their carers.
Many of the venues who have worked with us have made important changes, and introduced projects and events that directly benefit a group who are not often considered theatre goers.
We were recently contacted by Karen from The Seagull Theatre in Suffolk, who was a partner in the project in year one. She says,
“Teaming up with other venues and with support from House, I was able to book Vamos Theatre to come here; July 2017 saw us at a local care home with Sharing Joy and in September 2017 we had you here with Finding Joy. That goes down still as one of my favourite days, the work to get a full house (which I did) and one I still talk about.
“Moving on to 2018 and now, I have continued trying to engage in the world of families living with dementia and I applied for some funding for a film reminiscence project whereby we show a classic musical bringing in actors and singers to lead the session, which ends with a sing a long and social time and teas/coffees etc.
“I got some funding from my local council to run six sessions and then using that was able to apply for some more funding from the NHS. We also got this and so we have enough funding to offer this project to families and carers of people living with dementia for nearly a year and a half. Yesterday afternoon was our first session and the film was Singing in the Rain! We had 40 people attend, wives bringing their husbands with dementia, daughters bringing their mum, sons bringing their mum, and dementia support groups bringing along a group. The afternoon turned out to be something pretty special, the feedback was so positive and clearly having somewhere to come is very much needed.”
We’re so proud that our work has instigated such amazing work: congratulations to Karen for all her hard work and dedication, which is clearly making a genuine difference to people’s lives.
We’ve also been contacted by The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (also a partner in year one), who ran their first Dementia Inclusive Community meeting in Coventry on 19th February.
This is aimed at creating a localised group able to focus on what is needed in Coventry to make it more dementia friendly. It is for businesses, community members, people living with dementia and anyone who is interested in Coventry becoming a Dementia Inclusive Community.
We hope that the meeting leads to further changes in Coventry, and spreads the word wider. Huge congratulations to all our partner venues who have worked to change attitudes to dementia and make their venues more welcoming.