First Taste News Update

Background to First Taste -

First Taste are a small voluntary organisation who provide educational creative arts classes with qualified arts practitioners to older people in care within the Derbyshire Dales. Examples of the interactive programmes run by First Taste include pottery, arts and crafts, 3 M's (Melody, Memory & Movement), 4 P's (Pottery, Paint, Petals & Personnel), digital photography, I.T, gardening/floral art and drama. Committed to providing educational opportunities for older people as opposed to straightforward entertainment, First Taste has also developed a new training programme entitled PACT (Practical Action for Carer Training). Funded via The Headley Trust, PACT focuses specifically on the training and enhancement of residential home and day centre care staff skills.

First Taste NEWS!

Tansley House Residential Home, Matlock has continued its relationship with us within our new PACT Programme - a 3 year project running from April 2010 until 31 March 2013. We have 4 establishments involved in the Programme, each of which will receive 21 workshops per year for each of the 3 years (7 workshops each term) led by appropriately skilled First Taste tutors.

We were also fortunate to secure a grant from UK Online and with additional support from Derbyshire County Council's Intergenerational Project have been able to equip all four of the participating establishments in the PACT with: 3 laptop computers with integral webcams and speakers, printers, large keyboards, PowerPoint projectors, fold-down screens, and 4 digital cameras. The present thrust therefore of the PACT Programme being to help develop care staff's IT skills and through them support the use of the new technologies by the older people in their care. The first term has gone extremely well and we are looking forward to greater work intergenerationally with the secondary schools in Ashbourne and Bakewell in a similar way to that which has already been established at Tansley House with the students from Highfields School in Matlock.

Derbyshire County Council had commissioned First Taste last autumn to undertake a 6 month training programme for the activities organisers / care staff from the Authority's own care homes. Derbyshire County Council were highly satisfied with the work delivered and have commissioned a further 12 months training programme for their care home staff and activities organisers / care staff from their day centres. This is taking the form of a programme of workshops repeated in 6 different venues across the County and has been warmly received by the staff attending.

Cecilia Harris, who was the Social Care Manager for our 2 year TOPIC (Tutoring Older People in Care) Project (which finished last Summer /early Autumn) is managing this work for Derbyshire County Council's training project and also the PACT Programme. We were very pleased that we could retain her immense professional skills which had been greatly informed by her work on the TOPIC programme. Andrea Walker Patrick who was TOPIC's Professional Programme Manager decided that as she was supposedly retired but did not wish to take on further remunerated work, then she would be happy to accept First Taste Trustees' invitation to join our board of 8 working (voluntarily) trustees - Andrea has a special role of being responsible for the educational development - so as you can imagine we were delighted to have retained her immense skills and experience of adult learning.

Derbyshire County Council has again given us a small grant to help support the provision of a programme of stimulative arts educational workshops to older people attending Derbyshire County Council sponsored day centres across the Derbyshire Dales during 2010/2011. This means that 16 older peoples' day centre groups will each receive a programme of 5 workshops from Autumn this year until Spring 1011. We expect the programmes to cover the ever popular "3 Ms" (Melody, Memory & Movement), Metalwork, a range of arts, crafts, pottery and textiles plus digital photography linked to some simple IT.

We have been running similar programmes very successfully for these day care groups for many years now. It does also mean that our various arts disciplines tutors will continue their work with those groups.

We appreciate that all of this is far from an easy task but do hope that others will see and understand that the immense value of using the creative arts in this way can yield enormous benefits to the quality of care offered to older people in their later years as well as actually saving money (as evidenced by Bev Windle, Home Manager at Tansley House with the reductions in medication and incontinence materials in her home).

I can't help but feel that if a small independent care home with only 19 beds in the Derbyshire Dales (Tansley House) can accomplish this, led by a Manager utterly convinced of the value of stimulative care and the need to actively lead and encourage her staff, and who has challenged much of the conventional routines etc and who herself is very self effacing but has a realistic grip on what life in a care home should offer as "the norm" then surely it should be widely achievable elsewhere.

Iris Wagstaffe

First Taste