“Hands on” memories

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - sheltered accommodation, News.

Birtley_Villas_Telling_Tales_028Residents at a sheltered housing scheme in South Gateshead have been getting creative, taking part in an innovative art project.

The “Telling Tales” initiative saw a group of ten Birtley Villas residents meet every week to record personal memories of their lives, with “hands” as the theme.

The project was organised by staff at Birtley Hub through arts charity Helix Arts’ programme “Make Art Happen”, with Helix Arts and Gateshead Council’s “Live Well Gateshead” initiative providing the funding.

Over the course of the sessions, the group explored their own personal histories. They collected memories, ideas, words, geographical maps, photographs and small objects that had a personal significance to the group.

The residents drew around their hands, making bunting from the shapes. These shapes were then made into ceramic hands by professional artist Effie Burns, with each hand individually decorated to represent residents’ memories.

Over the weeks, strong friendships were forged and the participants gained the confidence to try new things.

The contributors recently got together at a tea party event to view the finished display of audio tracks, ceramics and photography.

Sheltered Housing Estate Officer Marion Ranson said; “This has brought together the residents and encouraged them to share their memories, forming close friendships in the process.”

Janice Knox, Sheltered Scheme Officer at Birtley Villas, said: “The display is very attractive and I’m sure residents and visitors will get great enjoyment from looking at it.”

To find out more about the housing company’s services for older people, email the Sheltered Housing Team or call 0191 433 5356.

Photograph above: Doreen Carr and Jimmy Armstrong with artist Effie Burns