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Dementia-arts partnership launches creative tool to support care sector

An arts activities guide, designed specially for people living with dementia, has launched as part of a collaboration between leading dementia specialist, Belong, and Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre, offering an inspiring collection of pursuits to enhance the wellbeing of those who work with it.

‘Little Golden Moments’  brings together an array of one-to-one and group exercises in music and sound, storytelling, movement and dance, and working with clay. All have been devised by some of the country’s most acclaimed creatives commissioned by Bluecoat, and piloted by Belong for the ongoing research partnership between the organisations.

For the past four years, the relationship, entitled Where the Arts Belong, has explored the use of arts in care environments with the artists taking-up ‘arts residencies’ in Belong’s care villages, leading workshops for residents in their respective disciplines. In response to lockdowns, a spin-off initiative, We Belong Together, supported Belong’s independent living apartment tenants and those in the wider communities it serves, helping to tackle loneliness by providing a weekly focus at a time when interaction outside of support bubbles was limited to virtual means.

Now, all the activities have been packaged as Little Golden Moments, serving as an invaluable tool for loved ones, care providers and anyone supporting someone living with dementia. With the option to tailor tasks to participants’ preferences and ability, the aim is to engage them in meaningful occupation, whilst inviting their input, such as favourite memories, personal interpretations or new ideas. The result is increased wellbeing, connection, and a sense of purpose for those involved.

Caroline Baker, head of dementia and care quality at Belong commented: “When your loved ones or those in your care live with dementia, it can be difficult to keep them engaged with worthwhile activity. We’re pleased that the Bluecoat’s work with our customers to-date means we can offer this resource to carers everywhere. I’m sure many will recognise the small, special moments they have with those they care for and this will help to bring about more positive experiences.

Tabitha Moses, project facilitator at Bluecoat, added: “We hope Little Golden Moments will inspire creative engagement with people we love and support. Each activity has been tried and tested, both in-person and on a digital screen – all are dementia-friendly and Zoom-friendly. You don’t need to have any arts experience, just a willingness to have a go!

Printed copies of Little Golden Moments are available at the Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX (while stocks last) or can be downloaded at the partnership’s website: http://belong.org.uk/bluecoat

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