In the Autumn of 2012 the Director of Adult Social Care invited SILK to hear more about the work happening at Brockhill Park in Hythe, Folkestone.
An initial meeting was set up between SILK, Ladder to the Moon and Brockhill Dance and Social Care teachers; there was great enthusiasm for developing an intergenerational dance project between students and people living with dementia, building on the school’s existing community programme. Residents and staff from Hawkinge House Nursing Home, a local residential home that already had links with Brockhill, agreed to participate in the project.
Teachers and teaching assistants identified a need to develop their own skills and confidence in working creatively with people living with dementia before introducing students to the project. Chris Gage from Ladder to the Moon, a creative social enterprise with a specialism in dementia, was able to provide training and mentoring to the Brockhill staff during the project.
The first planning meeting was held in February. Next Chris ran a training workshop for teachers and teaching assistants, at Hawkinge House, where they were able to familiarise themselves with the care home and be introduced to the residents. This session was also to gain a better understanding of what was possible, levels of ability and adaptations required for taking the project forward.
See images below from this session held at Hawkinge House – as you can see it was a thoroughly enjoyable session for all involved.
What happened next
As the weekly intergenerational dance sessions took place in the lead up to the performance, feedback from the dance teacher, was that after just one session the residents appeared “more alive” when with the students and all had a good time. She said “although the students were nervous at first, they went out buzzing and loved their dance partner already – success.”
The final performance was held in the theatre at the school with cupcakes sent in by one of the student’s mums!
The final performance was graceful, beautiful and relaxed – students and staff from Brockhill and residents and staff from Hawkinge were all very engaged and enthusiastic about the performance. Everyone was able to participate if they wanted to.
See a short clip below of the final performance and LINK to the full film here XX
It was quite deliberate that the students invited to participate in the project were studying Health and Social Care, and not dance. This was done so that the routines were choreographed for all ages and ability but that everyone was able to participate in a way that was comfortable to them. Also the teachers adapted the language used to describe the dance moves, using descriptors such as flowers, wind and water to describe graphically and also using the senses.
How did it make you feel today in one word?
Hawkinge House staff: inspiring – excited – graceful – emotional
Hawkinge House residents: glowing – young again – quite nice – the moving about – it was OK – different – lots of laughing – marvellous – young – the feeling of freedom, I think more than anything else. The ability to express myself and do my own thing. Working with a partner made it extra special. I just loved it.
Brockhill students: happy – inspirational – excited – it was nice – felt really good – amazing – really good.
For more details about what we learned from this project and also the other intergenerational projects happening across Kent, please see our Intergenerational Top Tips.
Helen Murray firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Francis or Simon Hobby email@example.com
For the websites links for all intergenerational project partners and information about services and support please browse the Links page or see links on the left hand side of this page.