People living with Dementia will benefit from new funded project

A new project has launched at ARC in Stockton to offer friendly and creative sessions for older people with dementia, long-term health conditions and their carers.

The £96,000 initiative, launched this month and has been devised by Gateshead charity Equal Arts.

The project which is called Creative Age, will be rolled out at ARC as well as MIMA, BALTIC in Gateshead and other selected arts venues in the North East and Cumbria over the course of 18 months.

Weekly Creative Age sessions will run each Tuesday at ARC from 29 September from 10 – 11.30am and will usually cost just £2 with carers going free, and the first session in September will be free to all.

Activities during the classes will be sociable, friendly and relaxed and will encourage developing creativity with sessions including storytelling, creative writing, arts and crafts, drama and movement.

Annabel Turpin Chief Executive of ARC said: “Creative Age is a fantastic project and we are delighted to be one of the venues leading the way for friendly, open, creative sessions for people living with early-stage dementia.”

Douglas Hunter, director of creative ageing charity Equal Arts, said: “We’ve been working with older people for 30 years and felt there was an ideal opportunity to encourage arts venues in the North East to widen their offer for people with dementia.

Traditionally memory-based activities are offered to people living with dementia, a memory-related illness, and this can cause anxiety in some.

These creative sessions are inclusive, friendly and focus instead more on people’s imagination and ideas.

This initiative is a huge step forward for the North East in terms of providing arts provision for people with dementia and those with health conditions such as hearing loss and Alzheimer’s.”

The sessions will run until November and will be led by Romi Jones. Romi is a writer, who uses stories, poetry and images to encourage people to explore their individual creativity.

The initiative will culminate in a week of creative events with the participants of the sessions.

The Creative Age sessions can be booked via the website or by calling the Box Office on 01642 525199. The first session is free but places should still be booked in advance.