Museums Service gets funding boost for Dementia project

p2 Published Wednesday, 14th September 2016

Museums Worcestershire have been given a £32k funding boost to take their Suitcase Stories project countywide, with major contributions from Arts Council England and The Elmley Foundation.

Building on the success of the September to December 2015 arts and museums project in Wychavon care homes, Suitcase Stories will enable adults living with dementia and their carers in six Worcestershire locations to relive memories from the 40s, 50s and 60s using the art of Storytelling.

The participants each week will hold, touch, smell and feel the handling objects 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 Worcestershire residents living with dementia.

The memories of the adults living with dementia, and the museum handling objects, will inspire the artistic process and content to create a live performance of storytelling and music from the minds of Worcestershire residents. From these memories new stories about Worcestershire’s past will be sourced and written.

These will then be performed at workshops in six local dementia cafes (Broadway dementia café, Malvern Cube, The Commandery, Museum of Carpet, Forge Mill Needle Museum and Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings), connecting residents of Worcestershire to their memories using arts and heritage.

Cllr Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Localism and Communities said: "The Suitcase Stories project will help create and document memories, stories and music to establish a valuable storytelling museum resource. It is fantastic for the well-being of people living with dementia, and a wonderful opportunity to help shape and strengthen the future of Museums that are truly part of people’s lives and the local community."

Cllr John Smith, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Well-being said: "The Suitcase Stories project will make a great contribution to helping people living with dementia in Worcestershire to lead a healthy and happy life. Thanks to all the partners involved, the tremendous social and health benefits of this project will reach throughout the county."

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.

This project has been generously 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.

For more information contact Gemma Dhami, Learning Volunteering and Partnerships Manager at Museums Worcestershire by emailing gdhami@worcestershire.gov.uk