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Free dementia art workshops in Poole

Clay work

A series of free art workshops designed to support the needs of people with dementia, and their carers, will be piloted by PHP next month, marking the first time a project of its type has ever been run in Poole.

Anyone who has recently been diagnosed, or is experiencing early-stage dementia, is welcome to join the Borough of Poole-funded Creative Arts for Dementia programme, which allows residents to try their hand at watercolour painting, clay work and soapstone engraving. No previous experience is necessary and all materials are provided.

The relaxed and informal workshops are run by PHP and ZooFish Arts, a group of talented artists who use arts and environment-based projects to work with disabled and disadvantaged residents across the south west of England.

Practical, creative activities, such as those being offered during the eight-week programme, are known to help aid cognitive skills in later life, as well as raise self-esteem and offer increased opportunities for self-expression and communication amongst older people.

Uniquely, the new group is also open to those who are supporting people with dementia. Every week, carers and family members will be able to discuss their experiences with each other and indulge in some exciting relaxation and pampering activities while the art workshops are taking place.

Creative Arts for Dementia takes place at Belmont Court, an extra care scheme in Upper Parkstone. The property has recently benefited from a £150,000 refurbishment, including the construction of an exciting new sensory garden, to bring the scheme up to ‘extra care’ standard and improve the surroundings for residents and the local community to enjoy.

Claire Wade, Community Involvement Officer, said: “We were really excited to receive a £2,000 grant to run these sessions, as there are no other arts-based activities for people in the early stages of dementia in Poole. The brilliant thing about Creative Arts for Dementia is that participants don’t need any experience, so it’s the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill and enjoy spending a couple of hours a week in a stimulating, sociable environment. We are aiming to run a friendly group where people feel comfortable and relaxed – and have a lot of fun too!”

The eight-week programme is free but booking is essential. We also ask that participants attend all the workshops. For more details and to book your place, please email Claire Wade or call 01202 264310.

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