Ward and Building
In recent years the local NHS Trust removed funding to ward based arts activity. Some of the work was so valued by ward managers that the work continued through funding from discretionary ward budgets. This has now all but petered out and we are once again looking to develop a role for Arts and Minds within the mental health wards of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Young People with Dementia (YPwD)
Young People with Dementia have very few services tailored to their particular needs and the ones they are offered tend to fall under ‘older peoples’ provision. This is unsatisfactory as they can be affected from as young as 45 years of age.
Following closure of the YPwD pottery class at Fulbourn Hospital we stepped in (with funding from ‘Friends of Fulbourn Hospital and the Community’) to ensure continuation of the workshops.
Currently funded Cambridgeshire Community Foundation donors the workshops continue on a weekly basis (every Friday) in a professional ceramic studio in central Cambridge.
Our Young People with Dementia programme provides a safe and therapeutic environment for participants with a dementia diagnosis early in life.
Sessions allow attendees to show ability and enjoy success within a safe and social setting, experience handling clay and be guided and supported to make objects which will then be glazed and professionally fired. It is well documented that such activity relaxes the person with dementia and they will invariably leave the session calmer and more engaged than when they arrived. This will impact positively on their day and allow their carer (often spouse or close relative) to enjoy close and relaxed time with their loved one or some respite away from their caring role.
The ability to successfully function and make objects and share activity with carers is vital at a time when ‘mistakes’ and ‘inability’ are increasing due to the progression of the disease. Many of those attending our workshops will be doing so for the first time and often will have previously led a very active and culturally rich life. Why should that have to stop!
The Croft Child and Family Unit
An environmental art project has run here since 2010 involving children, families and staff from The Croft. Delivered in partnership with the National Trust’s ‘Anglesey Abbey’ we have delivered a rolling programme of workshops for children with a mental health diagnosis at The Croft and at Hoe Fen, Anglesey Abbey. Environmental art work, printing techniques, willow sculpture and garden re-design have all featured.
“That the groups were run outside added an extra dimension to them. Many of the children that come to the croft have become socially isolated and so time spent outdoors has reduced and the world is then increasingly viewed through a screen. An unexpected side-effect of the group is the global enjoyment of nature from all who attended — adults included.”
Manager at The Croft
The next phase in early 2016 will see additional sculptural elements installed within the quiet garden and fundraising to see the work continue.
The artists in residence style approach to working within this specialist tier 4 service has seen the arts begin to influence thinking and practice across teams. We would hope to see this work continue for many years to come.
The environmental basis of the work has influenced our development of Arts on prescription for children and features in a report for Arts Council England on arts based early interventions for children and adolescents.
“None of us were experts and age, gender and concepts of authority were removed (except around unacceptable/risky behaviour). This meant that we discovered the work together and had to negotiate rules around working together from scratch — this process was useful for helping the children to learn about cooperation and the process of learning to work together.”
Manager at The Croft