New Forest art experience creates fresh perspective for care home residents

Residents from Colten Care’s Fernhill care home enjoyed a stimulating day of art and activity at Buckler’s Hard organised with Mark Drury of the Spud Project and artist Helen Snell. They were joined by carers, relatives and volunteers.

Five residents from a dementia care home enjoyed a creative day out in the historic Hampshire village of Buckler’s Hard.


The party, from Colten Care’s Fernhill home in Longham, Dorset, took part in a hands-on workshop devised especially for them and led by artist-in-residence Helen Snell.


Using laser-cut plywood stencils for frames, they designed their own spectacles taking inspiration from the surrounding New Forest landscape and their own memories.


Helen said: “They came up with a whole range of images that were inserted into the frames including free-hand drawings of scenery and people’s faces. It was a real catalyst for discussion about how they see past and present.”


Karen Grant A’Court, Activities Organiser at Fernhill, said: “Arts and crafts are a very important element in how we care for our residents and today, thanks to Helen’s expertise as an artist and teacher, we all had the chance to be creative. We had a wonderful time with lots of fun, laughter and singing. It was a really happy, successful day.”


Accompanied by family members, carers and volunteers, the Fernhill residents took the chance to walk through the famous 18th century shipbuilding hamlet, now preserved as a maritime museum.


By the Beaulieu River, they spent time at the Observatory, a travelling studio space funded by the Arts Council where artists-in-residence are based until June 2017.


The Observatory, which has a turning mechanism enabling visitors to rotate it 360 degrees, is a project of the New Forest arts and architecture charity SPUD.


Co-Director Mark Drury said: “We are very much focused on learning and engagement with the community and we invite young and not-so-young to come along and do workshops and activities. Our Fernhill visitors created some really lovely artworks with Helen and had a lot of fun, not least with rotating the Observatory for different landscape views.”


Also on the visit was Colten Care’s Admiral Nurse, Kay Gibson, whose role as a specialist dementia care adviser is enabled through a partnership with the charity Dementia UK.


Kay said: “The visit was a lovely opportunity both to reminisce and be inspired by different scenery and, through the workshop, experience a different scenario to day-to-day life. The trip encompassed a great many benefits for our residents.”


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