The Orders of St John Care Trust – one of the UK’s largest not-for-profit care home providers – is collaborating with The Courtyard, Hereford to bring a unique arts project engaging with older people to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
Kindly funded by Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation, the project – called The Making Of Me – was pioneered by The Courtyard, Hereford and has been running in Herefordshire care homes for the past four years, aiming to improve quality of life for care home residents by encouraging creative participation and developing communication by using dance, drama and poetry.
Working with internationally renowned specialists – Diane Amans, John Killick and Liz Postlethwaite – nine local artists will be mentored on how to use their art form in care settings, engaging hard to reach residents and those with cognitive and communication difficulties. These artists will run the new projects at eight different care homes for ten weeks at a time, working alongside local arts centres.
Victoria Elliot, OSJCT’s Principal Care Consultant (Research & Innovation) said: “As an organisation, we provide a great deal of training and support for our care teams in relation to care related issues, but far less in relation to the arts. Care teams have really benefitted from the learning and role modelling opportunities shared with them by the professional artists across all three disciplines, plus the dedicated training sessions.
“We are indebted to The Baring Foundation, Arts Council England, and The Courtyard, Hereford for this project. As a charity, we do not have the financial resources or the professional arts networks and experience to deliver poetry, drama and art of such high calibre over such a sustained period of time as 30 weeks.”
Penny Allen, Adult Participation Manager at The Courtyard, Hereford, said, “We have been running projects of this kind in Herefordshire for the last five years, but never over such a long time period with one organisation.
“It has been wonderful to see the positive impact the project has on everyone involved, from the residents and the staff to the artists and even the volunteers who take part. We are proud to be giving older people the chance to try new creative experiences in this exciting project.”