During November, 26 members of Age Concern Southwark’s Black Elders Group (BEG) and Stones End Day Centre (SEDC) have been taking part in our More Creative ~ Memories & Tales project, funded by Terra Firma Charitable Trust.
Isolation among older people is a major problem in our ageing society. According to recent research by Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk), 1.28 million pensioners regularly feel lonely while nearly 2 million older people do not feel valued as an older member of society.
The majority of users are referred by Community Psychiatric Nurses. SEDC provides day care support to older people with physical and mental disabilities, visual and hearing impairment. They have different dependency levels and attending the centre enables them to live in their own homes or in sheltered accommodation.
The aim of our Memories & Tales project is to promote creativity, reduce isolation and enable the participants to develop communication skills, teamwork and trust.
Visiting the day centre weekly for six weeks, our writer Leah Thorn has been leading a series of creative writing workshops that use participants’ memories as the starting point for individual and group poems. The theme for this series of workshops is ‘marking the passing of time’.
“We have all learned something about one another, which we don’t when we’re just sitting here.”
Leah will be joined in December by our percussionist, Jonathan Thorpe for the two final sessions, during which the participants will set some of the poems to music. A CD for each group along with scrapbooks containing prose, poems and photos will be made to provide a lasting memory. The workshops will culminate in the participants’ sharing of their work.
“It is great to share. It is great to be treated as individuals. The project opens a lot of doors and brings out good memories.”