Eastern Winning Bid

Cambridgeshire Libraries and "Dementia Positive" - Winner of regional funding to support the Dignity in Care Campaign.

Project title : 'Countering Stigma in Dementia Through Creativity'

Aims and objectives of the project:

· to give persons with dementia in Cambridgeshire the opportunity to express themselves verbally about their condition and life generally;

· to help them to shape these insights in poetic form;

· to disseminate these artistic creations through readings, posters and a book;

· to influence the perceptions of the general public through giving them access to these artistic works, so that they may see persons with the condition as valuable members of society with a voice and a unique contribution to make;

· to offer training to librarians, care staff and medical practitioners so that they may continue to encourage and value creativity after the project has ended.

· To link with existing groups and new partners

· To use creativity to promote Dignity in Care across the region by sharing the results of this project and with high profile public performance and media involvement

How the project meets the Dignity in Care Challenges

"Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family"

"Engage with family members and carers as care partners"

· respect and recognition of each person's unique experience will form the basis of the project

· care workers, relatives and friends will be enriched by the results of the work and involved in the opportunity to continue understanding the power of creativity in this context

"Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service"

"Assist people to maintain confidence and a positive self-esteem"

· the poet will work on a 1:1 basis with people taking part

· the finished result will be the personal work of the individual

· confidence and self esteem will be enhanced in all contributors by seeing their work published and performed, and by the opportunity to take part in shaping the project

"Act to alleviate people's loneliness and isolation"

· the project will promote inclusion and understanding of people with dementia

· the project will seek to dispel loneliness and isolation by giving time and attention to those taking part

· and will seek the opportunities to equip care workers with the knowledge and enthusiasm to continue creative activity

· the project will encourage those taking part to visit libraries for poetry performances

· it will encourage carers and those they care for to visit existing library activities together such as Library "Engage" Clubs for older people

· it will also encourage supportive dialogue among carers and promote the library Carers Café Clubs

How the project offers sustained improvement to services:

  • by providing training for the improvement of skills and a greater awareness and understanding by staff and carers
  • by inspiring further innovation in the region to continue creative work
  • by a greater understanding and appreciation of dementia more generally
  • by giving dementia organisations and individuals a high profile
  • by building a network of partners and stakeholdersartners and stakeholder involvement, including public engagement

Partners and stakeholders will include:

  • the County library service staff (32 libraries across the county)
  • "Engage" Older People's Coordinator (joint post with libraries and Adult Social Care)
  • County Council Literature Development Officer
  • Cambridgeshire Celebrates Age Steering Group
  • Age Concern
  • Adult Social Care staff
  • health partners, especially mental health workers
  • care workers and Carers
  • Inspire - leading organisation in Cambridgeshire promoting wellbeing through arts: www.inspire.org.uk
  • Residential Homes
  • Alzheimer's Association branches
  • organizations such as Arts and Minds
  • and educational institutions including Anglia Ruskin University

Public engagement:

  • media, posters and press releases
  • book launch
  • poetry readings
  • series of events during October in the "Cambridgeshire Celebrates Age" programme.

How the project will be managed and delivered :

The project will be managed by a small group to include a person with dementia.

The project will be delivered by John Killick, probably the most internationally renowned poet working in the dementia field. For ten years he was writer in residence for Westminster Health Care, a private provider of nursing homes, working exclusively in their dementia units and exploring in all its aspects the crucial area of communication. He followed this up with six years as Research Fellow in Communication through the Arts at Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling. He has published five books in this area, three of poetry by people with dementia, one co-authored with an American practitioner and published in New York, and one (co-authored with Kate Allan and published by Open University Press) being considered the definitive text on this subject. He has written over fifty articles and nine book chapters, and has lectured and run workshops in many countries, including America, Canada and Australia. He is a frequent broadcaster, and appeared every day for a week on the BBC Radio Four programme 'You and Yours' early in January this year. His website is www.dementiapositive.co.uk

John already has connections with Cambridgeshire. He has given presentations on Creativity for 'Arts and Minds', and he is an honorary affiliated scholar of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University.

It is proposed that John would open the project with readings of already published work in libraries, day centres and nursing homes to set up a sense of expectation. He would then move into a period of intense work in these institutions, both one-to-one and with groups, some of the latter to include home carers and staff as well. He would be gathering material which would form the outcome of the residency.

At the same time John would run short training sessions for the staff of these institutions, and others in the community, to pass on the skills he uses in his work.

The project has the support of Lesley Noblett, Head of Libraries, Archives and Information and Richard O'Driscoll, Head of Older People Commissioning, NHS Cambridgeshire.

What outcomes are expected and how will they be measured:

The outcomes would be varied. They would include a further set of readings, but these to consist of work produced during the project, a book, and posters to be distributed and sold, literally spreading the word of the dignity and creativity of people with dementia. At this stage the press and local radio would be offered opportunities to sample examples of what had been achieved, and to interview the writer. * All the proceeds from the material developed by people with dementia will go back in to the continuation of creative opportunities for people with dementia.

The measurement and evaluation would be qualitative sampling of those (people with dementia, staff and relatives) who had participated. Their comments and Case Studies would be incorporated in a brief report.

The project would commence in April 2009 and reach its culmination in October 2009 with public performances and readings as part of the Cambridgeshire Celebrates Age Festival.

Contact person:

Lynda Martin, Partnership and Development Manager, Cambridgeshire Libraries and registered Dignity Champion


07796 336301