Stepping Out To Put Dementia In The Spotlight

A new intergenerational community arts project linked to Lytham Festival has just been given the go ahead this week, following confirmation of funding from the United Utilities Lancashire Community Fund, Lytham Festival organisers, Cuffe & Taylor and Fylde Borough Council.


The £26K project, called, “Dare To Be Great”, aims to foster greater awareness and understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia and will be delivered by local arts organisation, Fable Arts, in collaboration with Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and dance charity, Ludus Dance, together with staff and patients living with dementia at Clifton Hospital in Lytham.


Over the next month, the producers of the project aim to recruit twelve local young people age 16 – 25 to join a team of Memory Hunters, as they gather memories and stories from local people living with dementia and turn them into a physical re-telling of their ‘dare to be great’ experiences through a unique piece of dance theatre which is to be performed at Lytham Festival.


Lytham Festival Director, Peter Taylor, said: “Dare To Be Great is an innovative project which is raising awareness and understanding of an issue that affects the health and well-being of so many local people and therefore we are delighted to welcome it as part of Lytham Festival. We look forward to seeing how the project progresses over the next few weeks, and of course it will be a pleasure to welcome what promises to be a series of unique performances throughout Lytham Festival week.”


David Kay, Head of Service at Clifton Hospital, said, “We are very pleased to be involved with the Dare To Be Great project. It’s an initiative with real purpose which will have a positive effect on our patients on so many levels. Often, a person with dementia has trouble expressing themselves which results in frustration and feelings of isolation. We think they’ll love working with the young people and we can’t wait to see the results of their collaboration.  It’s going to be fantastic learning opportunity for everybody.”


Alex O’Toole, Director of Fable Arts, said, “By bringing to life the precious memories of those living with dementia we hope to inspire locals to seek out and pursue their own dare to be great situations and to remind people that life is there to be lived. The volunteer opportunities on offer through this project are an extension of that ethos. Twelve young people will receive a fantastic package of training and mentoring in documentary filming, dance and working with people with dementia, as well as the chance to perform at Lytham Festival. In return, they’ll be helping to restore and develop patients’ confidence and creative thinking skills by recording their life stories and memories and interpreting them through dance theatre.


And whilst movement is obviously a big part of this project, young people don’t have to be a trained dancer to apply. We want people who perhaps know someone living with dementia. We want people who are interested in a career in, or are currently working in, healthcare, social work, journalism, performance arts and community settings, because, at its heart, the project is about valuing the individual and reminding everyone that there is something great in all of us waiting to be unlocked.”


Di Cuming, CEO Ludus Dance said,“We are delighted to work on Dare To Be Great, supporting local young people to work with older people living with dementia, and using personal memories as inspiration for dance performances as part of the 2017 Lytham Festival. We aim to use our extensive experience of working with partner organisations, local authorities, community groups, educators and artists on high quality dance projects to challenge, change and inspire. We hope that this work can extend to the communities of Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde to support people with a wider range of social, emotional, practical, and general health needs too.”


James Proctor, Community Philanthropy Manager Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside, said, "The Community Foundation for Lancashire is proud to be supporting the Dare To Be Great project by Fable Arts. This is a unique intergenerational project that has great potential outcomes for both the older people living with dementia and the young people working with them to share their experiences."


Samara Stott, Arts Development Officer at Fylde Borough Council, said, “The Council are very keen to ensure the success of Lytham Festival continues to benefit the wider community of Fylde. The ‘Dare To Be Great’ project is an excellent example of how we are working collaboratively and creatively to do this and it’s great that we’re able to provide opportunities for upskilling and developing local young people, as well as supporting some of our most vulnerable residents, in the process.”


Anyone interested in applying to be part of the “Dare To Be Great” team should visit www.fablearts.org.uk for the full details and to complete an online application form. The application form can also be downloaded and emailed to alex@fablearts.org.uk  The deadline for application is 9pm Wednesday 24th May. 

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