The LAPWING ‘arts for dementia and community mental health wellbeing’ partnership project ran from 2016-17.
It was inspired, managed and evaluated by Fay Blair on behalf of the partnership led by Age UK Canterbury and was supported by Kent Creative Arts CIC.
The Project Aims
The core aims were:
- To enhance the capability, confidence and capacity of 30 of Kent’s professional artists to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable people, especially older people;
- To promote dementia friendly, mental health alert activities within the community;
- To improve the well-being and social inclusion of some of Kent’s vulnerable and older people.
The LAPWING Programme
The diverse project components included:
- The development and delivery of innovative training for creatives, involving 30 artists/creatives.
- A series of eight mentor-led programmes for artists who completed the training in Canterbury & Faversham Age UK day centres, Cranmer House sheltered housing scheme in Canterbury, and Barton Court Care Home in Minster, on the Isle of Sheppey.
- Work with Home-Start Canterbury & Coastal and the charity Rising Sun Domestic Violence & Abuse Service, leading a woman’s art group which included an exhibition of the women’s art at The Beaney in Canterbury.
- Intergenerational work called ‘Talking Trees’ where students worked with some of the LAPWING artists supporting the creative sessions and special outdoor events associated with a tree trail students’ developed for Westgate Gardens in Canterbury.
The LAPWING training programme
- The training was developed by an experienced practitioner team, led by professionals from Canterbury Christ Church University, Dr Trish Vella-Burrows (Co-director the Sidney de Haan Centre for Research in Arts and Health) and supported by Dr Pat Chung, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy and dementia specialist.
- ‘Talking Trees’
An intergenerational project involving 30 students from Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Canterbury as part or of their enrichment programme.
- The project was developed in partnership with the school and Westgate Parks by Fay Blair. The students helped to devise a self-guided tree trail in Canterbury’s Westgate Gardens.
- All the students took part in LAPWING artist-led creative making sessions with older people in Canterbury at the Age UK Canterbury Day Centre and at Cranmer House Sheltered Housing Scheme, in Canterbury.
- The overall impact and the project learning was significant for the artists, the participating audiences and for the facilitation and training team.
- Dr Neil Brown, Chief Officer, Age UK Canterbury said of the project
“It has been a privilege to lead and support this innovative partnership through Age UK Canterbury. We have been inspired and our members in later life uplifted, by the talent and commitment of the creatives and artists and partners involved in LAPWING”.
- Several presentations were held at Age UK Canterbury in December 2016 and at Kent County Council Creative Care Expo in January 2017.
- Digital, social media and press coverage helped to extend the outreach
- A private Facebook group called Talking Trees – Arts & Wellbeing was set up that now has over 100 members.
- LAPWING motivated some of trained artists/creatives to develop and lead other arts and wellbeing projects. For example arts for dementia creative writing and poetry projects:
‘Postcards from Precious Places’
led by Nicky Thompson
‘A Few Words About Me’ led by Jasper Bouverie, Funder Films
- LAPWING underpinned the rationale for the formation of Kent Arts and Wellbeing Ltd to evolve and expand the arts and wellbeing work.
- Kent Arts and Wellbeing was set up as a not-for-profit company in 2017 by Fay Blair, Gerry Atkinson and Ken Scott.
With ‘in kind’ support from: Big Fish Arts – Megadale Estates and Barton Court Care – for ‘LAPWING Sheppey’.