Well, it’s the final day of 2016 and a brilliant opportunity to look back on the year and look forward to 2017.
2016 – what an incredible year
Jan 16 – I went to Shetland and met with people working to improve lives for those living with dementia. I met Alan Murdoch, Dementia Services Nurse Manager, Ann Williamson and the community activities organiser for Alzheimer Scotland and we had an interesting chat about similarities and differences across the islands.
Focus on Dementia came to Lewis, and I had the opportunity to meet Michelle Miller and present the project to the delegates at the conference at Western Isles Hospital with Jon Macleod.
Lots of planning took place for a Carers’ Support group to start with Alzheimer Scotland at An Lanntair and for the Woven Communities Project. Maggie Smith, Donald Saunders and myself recorded several podcasts, which are available on our Soundcloud account now.
Feb 2016 – Jon and I enjoyed the Perth Gathering at Life Changes Trust, where we presented the project to the assembled awardees.Anna Buchanan came to see us at An Lanntair, to see how we are doing with the project.
The An Talla Solais team came to chat with us about the project in advance of starting their own dementia support project. I managed to persuade the incredible Scottish Opera to bring a bite-sized version of their tour programme to Harris House, which I loved every second of and I think we sparked some ideas there relating to creating dementia friendly performances.
The An Talla Solais team came to chat with us about the project in advance of starting their own dementia support project. We presented the project to the Rotary Club.
I managed to persuade the incredible Scottish Opera to bring a bite-sized version of their tour programme to Harris House, which I loved every second of and I think we sparked some ideas there relating to creating dementia friendly performances.
Maggie Smith ran a spinning session across the care centres and transcribed some gorgeous Gaelic poetry through her sessions. We went to Harris Distillery to collect some sensory items towards our Memory Box scheme that was in development back then.
We went to the South Isles, to support Alzheimer Scotland with Dementia Friends sessions and information sessions, which have since paved the way for more.
Also, this was the month all the final planning took place for the Hospital Tuesday Ceilidhs.
March 2016 – was all about branding with Good, Becoming the Island Case Study for Upstream project, podcast recording and uploading to share, starting off the Tuesday Hospital Ceilidhs, plus I went to Brazil on holiday and had a look at how people support each other with dementia there. We screened local film festival films across care centres.
April 2016 – Our collaboration project with St Andrew’s University and Dawn Susan of Hebridean Baskets, Woven Communities began and it was such a wonderful start, with excited planning. We worked with Lews Castle Museum, in advance of opening.
I met with Angus Murray at the Museum Nan Eilean before this project, to look at taking groups around the quiet museum before it opens to the public.
The Hospital Ceilidhs continued. The Carers High Tea continued… Storytelling sessions travelled around the care centres and day centres with Donald Saunders.
Andy Hyde of Upstream visited the island for the first time. I checked out some of the more remote dementia cafes and we took on the singing group for Alzheimer Scotland during a staffing low point.
May 16 – It was the Perth Life Changes Trust Gathering, it was Dementia Awareness Week, the Museum Visits took place, I met Myra Lamont of NDCAN, the Memory Cafe and Carers High Tea continue, Andy Hyde ran a session at Stornoway Airport for the staff team, plus one at Solas for reminiscence.
June 16 – Woven Communities took us to Uist, we welcomed some Japanese visitors, plus we supported the Stornoway Big Band Matinee event.
July 16 – Woven Communities work continued across Lewis & Harris. Paul Thomas from DEEP visited the island to talk through joining. The memory box scheme sensory box trial continued.
Aug 16 – Chris Hammacott commenced the carers cushion kits and films with me. We ran a Waulking Songs performance session in the Gallery as part of the Harris Tweed festival. We celebrated a 95th birthday, to kick off our In Conversation Podcast series. We went to the South Isles to build a team working to support people with dementia. We hosted some summer baking sessions.
Sept 16 – We did everything from cutting marram grass on a deserted island for Woven Communities, through presenting the project at Life Changes Trust First Community & Dementia Conference, on to attending the Scottish Dementia Awards and winning Best Dementia Friendly Community Initiative! Wow. We also launched our website.
Oct 16 – We commenced a document for collating all the makes An Lanntair a dementia friendly organisation. We also started working on the Volunteer Centre Western Isles WAVE Award for Volunteering Excellence. We joined the DEEP network. We gratefully received funding towards a South Isles Post from Remoage and Alzheimer Scotland Lewis & Harris Branch.
Nov 16 – We were back in the South Isles for the making part of the Woven Communities Project. Also, Paula attended the Life Changes Trust meeting on Benbecula about phase 2 funding. We ran the hugely successful Quilter in Residence Project at Solas day Centre with Chris Hammacott.
Dec 16 – We presented at the Upstream Conference in Edinburgh. We recruited two excellent artists in the South Isles to work with local communities living with dementia. We were successful in our funding application for the DEEP funds to support people to improve their surroundings in care centres. This work has now started. There were Christmas dinners, dementia friendly screenings, carers events, panto sessions, Christmas baking – it was truly festive, not to mention the beautiful quilts from the Quilter in residence month at Solas Day Centre.
Looking forward to 2017
The DEEP ‘Hills of Home’ project has started and will complete across 2017 with wall vinyls of relevant and personal images in care settings.
January 18th-20th 2017 Jon and Paula have been invited to present their part in the Woven Communities Project at a Symposium at St Andrews University.
February 2017 Jon is undertaking a residency in Senegal to research for this project. He will be away for around 5 weeks.
Work continues across the South Isles, with our new post holders Kate MacDonald and Margaret Joan MacIsaac.
Volunteering work continues. Work continues on Dementia Friendly An Lanntair.
Work continues on the hospital wards, with carers, across care centres and we continue to share the arts programming widely. We look forward to developing our partnerships and collaborations.
Thank you to everyone who supported us this year and we very much look forward to working with you again next year. Happy New Year!
October to December
July – Sept
April – June
Jan – March