Earlier this year we expanded our arts & elders programme to become arts & health. Kath Boddy, who manages the project (a role paid for by Patrons’ contributions), has developed our existing provision and introduced new strands. Since its inception, we have celebrated Christmas 2015 with an inter-generational dance All Together Now with live music from The Retros and shown relaxed screenings including a season of Julie Andrew’s films in the months around her 80th birthday. Meet Me at the Maltings was launched in October 2015 with the aim of tackling loneliness and isolation in our community and continues to provide a friendly, weekly gathering point for people of all ages and abilities to craft together over a cuppa and general chat. For Farnham Craft Month in October this year, Meet Me at the Maltings will come together in our foyer to create a social quilting project ‘Come Quilt with Me’ to make an English Paper Pieced quilt. Anyone can take part in this group participatory project, while learning the skills to take home for their own creation.
Local partnerships with health and community groups continue to strengthen and our profile has received a boost with a dedicated web presence at: www.farnhammaltings/artsandhealth.
The programme has expanded and currently includes two pilot schemes for carers: Chaos Choir for new parents caring for babies and toddlers and Take Care, drama workshops specifically aimed at carers of people with dementia. In Spring 2017 we will host an exciting theatre show ‘Spillikin’ by Pipeline Theatre, which examines the relationship between a carer and the person they are caring for. These programmes are kindly supported by Farnham Lions Club, Right at Home GF and Farnham Town Council.
In addition to this, thanks to support from Waverly Borough Council we are running an outreach programme to local care homes with a craft artist, called Making Keepsake Boxes. We also run these sessions on site, and they are open to anyone who wants to create a memory ‘capsule’, together with a loved one, in honour of someone no longer with us or to share thoughts with future generations.
Our work in this area is blossoming and we are keen to be able to run with the new ideas and opportunities that evolve. We are actively fundraising in many areas and with your help we can continue this valuable contribution to our community. With £100 we can run two Chaos Choir sessions, with £300 we can further our work with Take Care and with £500 we can enable the social quilting project in October to be completely free of charge and open to all.