The Cumbria Museum Consortium (consisting of Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Lakeland Arts and the Wordsworth Trust) is working in partnership (the Carlisle Dementia Partnership) with a range of organisations who deliver dementia support to develop a programme of events for people suffering with dementia and their carers.These organisations include Creative Horizons Cumbria, Cumbria County Council Archive Services and Libraries, Age UK, Alzheimers Society and NHS Occupational Therapy.
The partnership was formed in June 2013, so much of the work is still in the early stages, but some of the activity that has taken place includes Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery which has worked with volunteers in care homes and is also working to engage residents in a museum setting using their collection. The Wordsworth Trust is currently developing a pop up café and has previously supported dementia groups with poetry readings as part of What are words worth. Lakeland Arts has been working with Kendal College Adult Social Care students to demonstrate how culture and heritage can support the health and wellbeing agenda and is currently looking to take art works from their collection into the community.
The Carlisle Partnership is in discussions about hosting a joint event for Dementia Awareness Week in May to promote the range of activities they offer people living with dementia. The Partnership is a pilot and it is hoped that the model will be rolled out throughout the county.
The Cumbria Museum Consortium is an Arts Council Major partner museum and receives £3.1 million from the Arts Council. This support enabled the consortium to fund a specialist engagement post to target the over 50s focusing on health and wellbeing. Working in partnership with Cumbria County Council to support their Dementia Strategy has provided funding and resources that have benefited the partnership museums by upskilling staff in dementia awareness and developing resources for new engagement opportunities with the target audience.
Maria Toman, Adult Engagement Co-ordinator for the Cumbria Museum Consortium said, ‘The Arts Council funding is providing the resource for the partner museums to engage in wider partnerships and contribute to the health and wellbeing agenda and also supports the delivery of services over the wider geographical area of rural Cumbria.’