The Memory Lane creative sessions held at Mayfields in Boston have been so successful that Boston Big Local is providing a further £3,000 of funding to enable the group to continue.
Boston Big Local’s Plan Co-ordinator, Rachel Lauberts said: “The Memory Lane Group is a real success story. It is run by truly inspirational people and those taking part thoroughly enjoy the sessions. We are very pleased to be able to extend the funding to help the group to continue.”
The creative group is for people with dementia and their carers. The sessions are delivered by local artist Carol Parker with Lincolnshire County Council, and supported by Boston Mayflower.
“We are very appreciative of the support we have received from Boston Big Local,” Carol Parker said. “Everyone who takes part gets a great deal of pleasure from the Memory Lane Group. We are all very grateful for the extra funding which will allow the sessions to continue.”
Members of the Memory Lane group have different levels of artistic experience, so Carol delivers differentiated activities that offer something for everyone, regardless of their ability.
“At the last session we created artwork using natural twigs by wrapping them in colourful yarns and synthetic fibres,” Carol said. “The repetitive actions involved in producing any kind of artwork can have a very calming effect. Some of the people who have dementia can only see bright colours, so they find it stimulating to work with brightly coloured yarns, fabrics and other art materials.
“The magic of Memory Lane is down to the people that attend,” Carol added. “The people taking part have supported each other from the very first session. They have really gelled as a group. Everyone uses the time to focus on their art and forget about their problems for a while. The sessions allow them to work together and feel useful again.
“The carers who take part in the group enjoy the art, but they also benefit from the help and support they receive from each other as they share their stories and experiences.”
Now that it is established, the Memory Lane members are taking ownership of the group and putting forward ideas for activities. They have also been asked by Boston Borough Council to contribute to a public artwork.
“The council recently approached me about producing a public artwork in Boston and the Memory Lane Group has agreed to get involved,” Carol explained. “Members of the group and I will be working with a mosaic artist to co-create a large wall mosaic. Its design will contain positive messages to raise awareness of dementia.”
The Memory Lane Group has also agreed to create a knit installation during Dementia Awareness Week, which will run between 15 and 21 May.
The success of the Memory Lane Group has prompted other agencies to commission Carol Parker to deliver similar sessions further afield, in Spalding, Grantham and Sleaford. She is also in discussions with Lincoln University regarding a potential research project. You can read more about Carol and her work on her website at artrovings.wordpress.com.