24th Aug, 2017

Redditch hosts mental health drive to bring the memories back

Correspondent 24th Jan, 2017

A COUNTYWIDE project starting next week with help from Forge Mill Needle Museum is being backed by Redditch borough council.

The Suitcase Stories project, which will be starting from February 6, is designed to enable adults living with dementia and their carers to relive memories from the 40s, 50s and 60s using the art of Storytelling.

The reminiscence, storytelling and music workshops will run every Monday from February 6 until March 13 from 2pm until 4pm and will cost £2 per person including refreshments.

Participants will be able to hold, touch, smell and feel handling objects such as carbolic soap and old pictures of the Royal family from Museums Worcestershire collections to inspire stories for storyteller Gavin Young to perform.

By bringing together museum objects for reminiscence, and the arts for creative expression, Museums Worcestershire is aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of residents living with dementia.

The aim is to create a live performance of storytelling and music from the minds of Worcestershire residents. From these memories new stories about the county’s past will be sourced and written.

These will then be performed live by Gavin and Gemma Young, in three local dementia cafes in Evesham, Kidderminster and Redditch, connecting residents of Worcestershire to their memories using arts and heritage.

The first three projects have already taken place successfully in Worcester, Malvern and Bromsgrove.

Councillor Pat Witherspoon, whose portfolio covers leisure and cultural services, said: “This is a cause very close to my heart and I am sure many people across the borough know someone with dementia and have felt the effects of this progressive condition.

“The workshops will provide dementia sufferers with an enjoyable afternoon out and a trip back in time, as well as providing stories and records in history which we can all benefit from. If you know of anyone who might benefit from attending the workshops, please get in touch.”

The project will work with 72 people across the county directly, with over 200 more benefiting as a live audience. The stories will also be recorded and made available as a podcast and CD on various websites.

Museums Worcestershire were given a £32k funding boost earlier in the year to enable them to take their Suitcase Stories project countywide. The Suitcase Stories project began in 2015 in Wychavon Care Homes.

This project has been supported by Arts Council England, The Elmley Foundation, Worcestershire county council, Malvern Hills district council, Wychavon district council, Worcester city council, Wyre Forest district council and Bromsgrove and Redditch councils.

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