Memory Loss

A close up of a Memory Loss session with a participant making a watercolour painting

Art and Craft workshops designed to support people struggling with memory loss.

In October and November 2022, the Harley Foundation worked alongside Nottinghamshire MIND to deliver weekly art workshops as part of their ‘Well Community’ project.

These workshops were specially designed for those struggling with memory loss conditions as well as for their carers and family members.

Over the course of 9 sessions, those taking part tried out a variety of different arts and crafts techniques. Each was chosen to support and improve well-being as well as to help with focus and concentration. The Harley education team delivered the sessions in conjunction with a number of local artists including Abi Olla and Louise Presley.

The course started with participants painting to music and we used this activity to explore emotional connections and memories. In two consecutive weeks, attendees made pinch pots and decorations from clay and then glazed their ceramic creations. These activities encouraged mindfulness by providing participants with a hands-on tactile experience.

In another session, we focused on stitching and unpicking, and considered how repetitive physical activities can help improve your wellbeing. Textile painting was a popular activity, and participants decorated tote bags and pencil cases. In the final week, we decorated Christmas baubles and created our own wrapping paper in a festive themed workshop.

The course gave individuals the opportunity to learn and develop new artistic skills, as well as providing a space where they could revisit techniques they had already enjoyed.

At the end of the course, all attendees had built up a basic knowledge across a broad range of arts and crafts, and they felt a real sense of self-achievement and confidence. This project also gave attendees the chance to connect with other people with experiences of memory loss and to build long-lasting relationships.

At the end of the 9 weeks, one attendee reflected that the course had taught them the “importance of conversation and [of] activities to encourage mental stimulation.”

Another participant told us that the course had helped them because the “activities encouraged well-being and mental stimulation.”

Funded by NCC