August Newsletter (including July)

This is the Arora Dementia Friendly Community at An Lanntair Newsletter for August, including all the news from July.

August and beyond

ME TIME AND ART CEILIDHS – at An Lanntair, inspired by the work in the Uists.

We have been working on some new sessions at An Lanntair, in the Art Room, where we are booking some of our best and most current local Artists (and some visiting Artists) to work with us on a drop-in or stay-all-day basis. You can stay all day from 10.30-3.30 and enjoy a light lunch in the cafe bar of soup or a sandwich and a soft drink or tea/coffee, or you can just drop in for an hour or two. These are taster days to try out new art forms, such as basket weaving, quilting, writing stories or poetry or scripts, learning the guitar, learning to dance, print making. The idea is to see what everybody enjoys and to try out which times and days are best, and where the sessions are most needed. We are very happy to take the sessions out to villages as needed.

The dates will be advertised on our Facebook page (please like and follow us, it’s @aroraanlanntair) along with the Artist for that session. They are mainly on Wednesdays, although some sessions for guitar and dance will not be on a Wednesday. They are split into two kinds of sessions called:

Me Time sessions for people with a caring role (and this is very flexible – it might be that a family member lives with you and this time and space to learn new art forms and skills is valuable to you – the person you care for might like to come with you…or not).


Art Ceilidhs for people who would welcome additional support to participate in art and crafting classes. If you have someone you would like to bring for support – a friend, a family member or a more formal carer, please do, but you are equally welcome to come by yourself and meet new friends.

These Me Time sessions for people who are caring are available in North Uist and South Uist with Margaret Joan MacIsaac (who has been putting some kits together in print making for people to try at home). Inspired by Margaret Joan’s work, we have booked sessions in to An Lanntair and Duncan on Barra has been working on a similar set of events there. Me Time sessions are funded by Wm Grant Foundation and Life Changes Trust. Art Ceilidhs are funded by Life Changes Trust.

Kate has been working on Art Ceilidhs at Caraidean Uibhist, which has inspired our Art Ceilidhs at An Lanntair, and these continue each month, see facebook for details.

Birds on the Ward

Gill Thompson will continue to work with people on Erisort and Clisham wards to create bird collages to print for the ward memory garden.


Maggie Smith, Louise Davidson and myself went to Harris House for a little dance session last week. We are returning on 2nd October, in order to work on more cultural dance with traditional songs and tunes, plus waulking songs movements and Maggie’s reminiscence and cultural movement. We have been funded by DEEP (Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project) to continue this dance work and to create a short film to support activities teams to continue and develop this work.

Ward Ceilidh

The ward ceilidh on Erisort ward continues weekly, on a Tuesday from 2-3pm.


Arora Film Club

There is a monthly film club at An Lanntair on the first Weds of the month.

Hosted film clubs continue, where requested.

The NHS Ward Arora Film Club will get started as soon as we can organise that with NHS staff.

Tommy Whitelaw – is coming back on 30th August, Paula is presenting the project at the event in the morning and afternoon.


DEEP vinyl project – at NHS Western Isles Stornoway – Erisort Ward – the final three images have been cropped to size by Alex Boyd and I have them printed ready to show around the hospital one last time on Thursday 10th August. The reason for this is in case the images do not look quite the same when cropped to suit the shape of the wall where it will be installed. We felt it important to show people exactly what the image will look like, installed on the wall, and the final selection will be ordered later on this day. The celebration event will take place on 30th August. Install will take place when all teams are ready. Paul Thomas is coming to visit on 16th August, there may even be an impromptu ceilidh on a ward somewhere….if we twist his arm 🙂


At St Brendan’s, Castlebay – Duncan has been working with people at St Brendan’s Care Centre in Castlebay to create a framed, personal image of an important place on Barra for the room of each person, plus a large image for the entryway of the care centre.

At Benbecula, Kate has been working with the team there to look at how to support people in hospital to feel inspired to eat and the vinyl image will be based around the comforting images of home, the dining area etc.

Reminiscence work

Maggie has undertaken some interviews about memory recently, working towards our final publications and exhibitions for the April show.

Kate has been working with people at Trianaid and Sacred Heart on reminiscence sessions, more will be uploaded to the blog shortly – she has been busy cycling from Barra to Ness, testing out a yarn bombing exercise in preparation for the final show, again, in April 18.

Duncan has been working with the Men’s group at Cobhair Bharriagh, as well as offering many ceilidhs across the island and joining in a session in South Uist at Sacred Heart with Margaret Joan and Kate.

Digital Dining

Our digital dining partnership work with Dementia Friendly East Lothian continues with a conference call booked for the end of the month.

11th September is a busy day for the project! Jon and Paula are heading for Perth for the Life Changes Trust gathering.

Andy Lowndes from Playlist for Life has planned a session with Maggie in the An Lanntair Auditorium on 11th September in the afternoon. Come along and learn all about Playlist for Life and how you can get involved! It’s free. Times to be announced, check our facebook (@aroraanlanntair).

AND RECENTLY….Looking back over the past month

We have supported the Erisort Ward Tuesday Ceilidh, we screened Arora Film Clubs with Whisky Galore, as a refresher for the new release film and For Your Eyes Only, in tribute to Roger Moore.

The team has been working on Intelligent Textiles through Lucy Robertson, a PhD student of Duncan of Jordanstoun. She has been looking at supporting Gaelic for carers and supporting people with more advanced dementia to settle towards the evening and to be creative with colour and light. She has been working with local textiles at Uist Wool.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 14.44.29

Kate has been working on the Feis at North Uist. She was working with Dawn Susan, completing the work funded in part by Remoage, intergenerationally sharing weaving and rope making techniques, which we started at Iochdair School in South Uist earlier this year. Being a teacher, Kate is particularly qualified for her post as Intergenerational Artist Practitioner, and as you will all know, her post was funded in part by Alzheimer Scotland, Lewis & Harris Branch, as well as by Life Changes Trust.

Speaking of intergenerational working, Paula has just completed the International Certificate in Intergenerational Working online.

The Memory Boxes have made their way to Barra on a bakery van, via Heb Haulage and via staff relay transport efforts on a ferry. We have two memory boxes so far, a crofting box and a sensory box for people more advanced with sensory needs. They have been launched in Benbecula, South Uist, Barra and are about to be brought back to Stornoway for a launch via Taigh Chearsabhagh and Tarbert. We are working on a transport memory box as well as one for fishing and another for crafting, which will be filled with patterns, knitting and crochet supplies, knot making information, printmaking and many other craft opportunities. Watch out for more launch dates coming to Stornoway Library, Tarbert Library and Taigh Chearsabhagh. The library tablet computers are also available to borrow, much like a library book, from the libbrary service. The tablet computers are filled with local and archive film.

Gill Thompson has been working on Clisham and Eriosort ward with people to create bird collages to print for the Memory Garden. Her exhibition has recently been at An Lanntair and I think you can still catch some of her work at the Morven Gallery.


We are looking for volunteers to support maintaining the lovely Memory Garden at the NHS Western Isles hospital in Stornoway. Please get in touch with



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