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Praise for University’s innovate partnership with Dementia Support

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Rachel Johnston with University students

 

AN INNOVATIVE partnership between the University of Chichester and a nearby dementia charity that supports residents through the use of art has been commended at an awards ceremony.

Dementia Support, based in West Sussex, received a contribution to the arts accolade at the Observer community awards for the joint initiative which saw students lead specialist art classes for people with dementia to provide cognitive stimulation. The University's department of Psychology and Counselling is also working on developing a neuropsychological assessment environment based at the Sage House facility, in Tangmere.

Fine Art student Emily Shaw said about her experience: “I’m thinking about art therapy jobs as a result of this project, so that’s a definite practical outcome. I think it has increased my confidence overall and especially in setting up and leading art session other others.”

The art students ran a course for people living with dementia and their carers over ten weeks. They used various mediums such as painting, clay, plaster of paris, photography, to create art pieces and work towards a final project. 

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Rachel Johnston spoke about the partnership: “Art is a means of communication and it is fantastic that the students and people living with dementia has benefited from these projects. These placements have brought people together whose paths may not normally cross, and we are looking forward to students Chloe and Nafisa working at Sage House in 2019.”

Sage House is the first of its kind in the UK to bring dementia services under one roof for people living with dementia, and their families and carers. It specialises in providing day and community care, the NHS memory assessment service, social activities, health and wellbeing services, dementia information and advice, and a community cafe.

Dementia Support received the contribution to the arts accolade at the Observer community awards

The placements were beneficial to the students to complete their degrees, but it also gave them an insight into understanding dementia: to socialise, form friendship groups and reminisce which provides cognitive stimulation. A music student has also attended Sage House on a three-month internship exploring the therapeutic benefits of music for people living with dementia.

“It has been great having students here at Sage House,” said Sue Craig, above, the Community Relationships and Learning Co-ordinator. "It was a bit of the unknown with the first placements, but we need not have worried – the group got on so well we could just leave the students to run the project.  It has been a great partnership and we are so proud to have been recognised at the Observer Community Awards.”

New art sessions with the University students will be hosted in the spring. To find out more about Sage House, and how it helps people living with dementia, go to www.dementia-support.org.uk.