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Creative Conversations Celebration Event

Some of the participants with John Killick, project partner and workshop facilitator, and Donna Miles, workshop facilitator.Some of the participants with John Killick, project partner and workshop facilitator, and Donna Miles, workshop facilitator.Bangor University, in partnership with Flintshire Social Services, and the renowned author John Killick has recently celebrated their latest project in supporting people with dementia - Creative Conversations.

The project was led by Dr Kat Algar-Skaife from the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) Wales, at the College of Human Sciences, Bangor University and was funded by Health and Care Research Wales, Welsh Government. Kat said:

“There is growing evidence that the arts can improve the quality of life and wellbeing for older people and people living with dementia. However, we have noticed in previous projects that the sessions also benefited the care staff by helping them get to know the residents better. This project was an exciting partnership between Bangor University, Flintshire Social Services and John Killick, who is a leader in the field, where we offered care staff more tools in their toolbox of skills that they use to engage with residents and ultimately to improve the quality of life for care home residents across the County.”

The project worked with fourteen Flintshire Care Homes, offering their staff creative workshops to offer new and alternative techniques to support people living with dementia and to help stimulate conversations with them.

These sessions used the arts and other creative techniques to better ensure that people living with dementia have a positive and meaningful interaction to support their wellbeing. The workshops helped to upskill the care home workforce so they have the techniques to support people living with dementia and to make connections and friendship while they go about their day-to-day activities.

All of the attendees at the celebration event in Buckley.All of the attendees at the celebration event in Buckley.Luke Pickering-Jones, Dementia Services Lead for NEWCIS said:

“All the care homes have embraced this opportunity to take part in this project. They are an asset to our County by showing that they want to improve the lives of people living with dementia within care homes.”

The celebration event was held at the Horse and Jockey Pub in Buckley, which was accredited as “working towards becoming dementia friendly” in the Buckley Dementia Friendly Awards. The Horse and Jockey Pub was also was one of the venues for the workshops.

John Killick, who has many years’ experience as a teacher, writer in residence and a Research Fellow in Communication through the Arts, said:

“This project was a new approach – we wanted to make it a different experience – it’s different for a start because it’s in a pub – not the usual place for sessions like this, but the atmosphere is more relaxed.  And it’s not training, the staff found out for themselves through poetry, photos, videos, art and songs.  There were suggested activities for them to try when they got back to the homes and I was on hand to mentor them during the course of the project.”

Following the success of the project, Flintshire Social Services have secured additional funding to continue the workshops for care homes throughout Flintshire to develop the opportunity further by including family carers and those who work within home care agencies across the county.

Publication date: 24 September 2018