Older People

"Beside the Sea sensory story kit is perfect! It allows those with varying limitations to engage irrespective of their personal barriers.We have many non-verbal residents and because the activity doesn't require them to communicate through verbal language they were engaged throughout."
Care home activities co-ordinator, Weston-Super-Mare

"We saw a lot of contribution from participants and they didn't need to be encouraged participation on the most part. When one resident was asked to pinpoint a moment or a few moments which they enjoyed, she responded with: 'I loved all of it'."
Care home activities co-ordinator, Dorset

"The songs and sounds are so evocative, they always created a big response. In particular the songs always got a positive reaction from residents."
Care home activities co-ordinator, Weston-Super-Mare

a sensory story supporting people living with dementia to connect with nature
Supported by National Lottery Community Fund

Following the success of our first sensory story which helped people living with dementia and their carers in care homes across Bristol, Weston and Dorset to enjoy a imaginary trip to the beach, we're delighted to be making a second sensory story in March 2021.

We're working again with Bristol artist Suzy Furse who will make images that capture the natural delights of a British Spring. Suzy also made the images for the sensory story "Beside the Sea".

We'll also be making immersive soundtracks and gathering sensory items. These SpringTime sensory story kits will be loaned to two care homes in Weston for 3 months, then collected and shared with other care homes in the area so the work reaches as many people as possible. 

This work has been supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Beside the Sea (2020/21)
a storymaking project for older people
commissioned by Activate (Dorset)
Supported by Activate, National Lottery Community Fund & Bristol Older People's Forum

We partnered with Dorset-based theatre company Frenetic Fox and Bristol artist Suzy Furse to create Beside the Sea in the autumn of 2020. We designed and made a multi-sensory story about a day out on a British beach for people living with advanced dementia and a carer or family member to enjoy together safely within a care home setting.

Beside the Sea sensory story kits were delivered to 9 care homes in Hartcliffe (south Bristol), Dorset and Weston-Super Mare. They included bespoke images by Suzy Furse, immersive soundscapes and original music by Gill Simmons, and sensory items like deckchair fabric, smell boxes and buckets of pebbles and shells.

Between February-May 2021 we dropped into online memory cafe sessions hosted by  Alzheimers' Society UK to create some seaside themed audio-stories with older people in Withywood and Weston.

Participants took inspiration from these pictures to create a brand new audio story, which was written and performed by older people and their carers. One group's audio story imagined an ABBA tribute band performing on the beach, so we made an ABBA cover.

Beside the Sea was funded by by Activate, National Lottery Communities Fund and Groundwork, and was further supported by That Creative Thingy Wotsit, a Weston-based CIC who support creativity in care homes.

Suzy Furse's seaside images, commissioned for Beside the Sea, are available as a set of 6 postcards from our online shop for £5. Profits will support further creative projects in care homes. 

Wonderland (2019)
dementia-sensitive theatre for care homes

In 2019 we made Wonderland, a dementia-sensitive theatre show which toured to care homes and day centres in Bristol, Weston Super Mare, Wells and also toured to Newcastle Under Lyme as part of the New Vic Theatre's Live Age Festival. Learn more about Wonderland here.

The Making of Me (2014)
imaginative sensory sessions for older people
a partnership project with the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford and Shaw Healthcare

We first began working with older people in 2014 on a project called The Making of Me, in partnership with the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford, Shaw Healthcare and Liz Postlethwaite from Small Things. We delivered immersive drama workshops for residents in a Portishead care home, taking the ‘Imagination Train’ to different locations each week chosen by the participants including the Ritz, the Beach and the Zoo.