South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is calling on people in Calderdale to think about volunteering with local creative arts organisation Verd de Gris and help improve the quality of life of older people.
Verd de Gris is a not-for-profit company based in Hebden Bridge, which works to develop a range of stimulating projects for older people, including projects that are funded by the Trust. As well as creating opportunities for artistic expression it advocates for new ways of working with and responds to the needs of older people.
Volunteers are being sought to support and help sustain an innovative programme of creative activities aimed at improving the health and social integration of older people in Calderdale.
Particular emphasis is placed on supporting people experiencing early signs of dementia, and people over 60 who are isolated and therefore at greater risk of developing mental health problems. Workshops are based on intergenerational exchange, visual arts, dance and movement, creative writing and reminiscence.
One of the projects funded by the Trust is called Changing Landscapes. It provides workshops for people over 50 who would like to develop a creative interest and skills, and contribute something positive to their community.
One lady who attended who has benefitted attended the Asian Women’s Resource Centre in Halifax and spoke no English and was very disengaged. After taking part in creative sessions with Verd de Gris she would join the other women at the table to eat her lunch, no longer eating alone, and even when the art sessions were not running she was more engaged with the centre and the rest of the group.
Speaking about the need for volunteers, Verd de Gris founder Jeff Turner said, “The number of volunteers who have expressed an interest or taken part in one or more of the dementia sessions is now up to 17 in just 4 months, but the more the merrier! Anybody who would like to find out more about volunteering are invited to get in touch to see if they would like to help run our programme of events.
The overall aim of the project is to support the care sector to make sure older people’s emotional and creative wellbeing is always considered. Using engaging activities in a creative way can positively impact on other aspects of wellbeing, supporting recovery and helping to establish important patterns of behaviour such as eating/sharing a meal, conversing and engaging with a group.”
Verd de Gris is a creative partner of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and as a result is part of a growing infrastructure of community organisations who are working with the Trust to provide creative projects to local people. As part of Creative Minds the Trust aims to support voluntary and community organisations, like Verd de Gris, to deliver a variety of creative projects to help improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
The use of creative activities in healthcare has been shown to increase self-esteem, provide a sense of purpose, develop social skills, help community integration and improve individuals’ quality of life.
To find out more about volunteering or attending one of the sessions contact Jeff Turner at Verd de Gris on 01422 845667 or visit the website for more details www.verd-de-gris.co.uk
More information about Creative Minds can be found at www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/creativeminds