In recognition of more than two decades of running creative projects with older people, West Yorkshire Playhouse has been awarded £103,000 by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
The grant will fund Our Time: creativity and support for people living with dementia. It is a new three year project in which the Playhouse will develop a full and on-going programme of arts activities for people living with dementia and their families. The funding will enable specialist staff at the Playhouse to test and develop a range of creative opportunities that meet the specific needs of people living with dementia, addressing major factors such as loneliness, isolation and the need for support networks and positive shared experiences between people with a diagnosis of dementia and their companions.
Our Time will be a regular programme of work, augmenting the Playhouse’s current older people’s provision which includes its flagship Heydays programme of weekly creative sessions, and other initiatives including Dementia Friends training for staff and Dementia Friendly performance this Christmas. Building on this pioneering work, the Playhouse will collaborate with Leeds City Council and social care agencies as well as fellow arts organisations to share experiences and identify good practice, which will feed into the new Leeds Tackling Loneliness Partnership.
James Brining, Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse said: “West Yorkshire Playhouse has a commitment to providing access to our theatre and creating enriching experiences for communities across Leeds. We’re proud to receive this funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to expand these creative opportunities and to work alongside individuals and groups in our city so that we become a key hub for people living with dementia and their families.”
Dorothée Irving from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation added: “We are delighted to support the West Yorkshire Playhouse with a three-year grant for Our Time. With its excellent track record in arts engagement, the organisation is well placed to successfully develop the best ways for the West Yorkshire Playhouse and other arts venues to enable older people living with dementia and their partners to access and participate in the arts.”
On Tuesday 16th December at 2pm the Playhouse will host its first Dementia Friendly production of White Christmas, tailored by the Playhouse to meet the specific needs of people living with dementia and their companions, in consultation with individuals and organisations working with people living with dementia. Tickets can be booked through West Yorkshire Playhouse Box Office on 0113 213 7700.