Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage has received a grant to deliver free workshops in the East Brighton area this autumn and winter from the East Brighton Trust.

From October 2017, we will facilitate a series of open access community focussed life history activities in three parts of East Brighton. These will be aimed at encouraging local residents, and specifically older participants, to engage with their memories and lives to create memory books celebrating the sharing of local memories.

Our first free sessions take place at Moulsecoomb Library on Wednesday 11th October 10-12pm and again on Wednesday 25th October 10-12pm. Come along and try our activities out!

We will be delivering these activities in partnership with Brighton and Hove Libraries and Information Service as part of both National Libraries Week which runs from the 9th – 15th October and World Mental Health Day also in October 2017.

We will also promote these activities to local residents who are experiencing early onset dementia, as a way to help support their life changes and memory loss in a positive and grounding way.

Having experience in the realm of dementia and being part of a local Dementia Alliance Network means we are able to support and engage participants on this level in an experienced and skilled way. We seek to offer this now in the locale, to encourage intergenerational integration, and a sense of local cohesion.

Further to this, we will also welcome all residents, and especially those who have been adopted, fostered or in care, as a way of supporting a positive identity and personal development. Life history work was originally developed for engagement and support of those adopted or in care, to foster a sense of belonging and identity.

Through these guided sessions, participants and carers will receive resources, sound recordings to encourage reflection and memory exploration, and reminiscence training and activities to support their own life history development and that of their area, as well as materials to make creative life history books which will be compiled to capture memories and stories about a person’s life, significant especially for older people experiencing a change in circumstances, the onset of Dementia or as a memory of a life lived in East Brighton.

Young people from carer or fostering, who have felt isolated and marginalised, will be able to find support within our groups, discussing their own experiences with other participants.

For each group, we will have outings to The Keep archives for talks and research activities to support this project and its development. Through this, we will be able to explore family memory using Ancestry software and national archives.

Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage will create a project to publicise, engage with, and deliver a series of six workshops in each of three venues. This will encourage the sharing of memories in a physically engaging way, record experiences, celebrate local lives, and support the creation of a life history book which can be kept and shared into the future.

Sharing and remembering together, whilst making a life history book is an enjoyable and empowering activity for everyone, and especially key for people experiencing dementia, and which may enable greater interaction and open up communication between carers, family and friends.

The supported creation of a life history book will be enjoyed in a way that puts a person in control of their own life story. It is also relevant to advocacy as it gives participants such control of their own experiences. The books created in these sessions will be something that participants can share with visitors, explore with local residents, or can be referred to by carers and family members to learn more about the person they are providing care for.

Through Remembering Together, we will offer supporting suggestions and techniques during sessions including:

  • As a security tool when person is taken to unfamiliar places such as hospital or care homes                 
  • Encourage accessibility though engaging with sound recordings                                                                           
  • To promote well-being, validation and celebration of a person                                                                   
  • Celebrate local memories                                                                                                                               
  • Offering a bridge to the past                                                                                                                                   
  • To provide opportunities for pride and enhanced self-esteem                                                                               
  • To engender re-building family relationships                                                                                                           
  • A life story book can enrich relationships and promote understanding and respect as memories fade.

The sessions will include:

  • Using old photographs, photocopies, maps, collage, text, printable resources and more.
  • Using archival sound recordings to explore local memories
  • Memory triggers to encourage remembering of family and friends
  • Reminiscence tips and techniques to support life history work

We will work together over the course of the sessions to create a beautiful, bespoke book which will celebrate the life of a loved one, helping them to remember happy times, key events.                 

The project will include the provision of a beautiful life book, resources, planning, materials and refreshments, as well as interim support, expertise, care and suggestions.