Making Changes

Laura Key, the clinical Associate in the Applied Psychology unit at St John’s got in touch with us asking if Artlink could help brighten up the waiting areas in their department. We had a look at the spaces and chatted to Laura and her colleagues to find out what they were looking for. Through conversation we arrived at the idea that artist Vanessa Lawrence could work with patients and staff to produce art works to brighten the space. There is something special about artworks having a direct association with staff and patients who are either cared for, or work in the unit. We look forward to the artworks emerging over the next months!

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Miss Annabel Sings

With a passion for reminiscence and the help of a huge back catalogue of songs from every genre, Edinburgh’s premier Cabaret singer and host will be singing in the new year with songs that cheer us up and bring us together. The unifying effect of music is powerful and Annabel is delighted to be back for 2019.

Patients and staff alike have been clearly enjoying the healing power of song. New friends at the St John’s Stroke Unit proclaimed ‘You are really treating us to something very special here!’ as staff and patients danced to the music.

Annabel has had a great time connecting with patients and she looks to the coming year to build upon these positive bonds. She will be visiting the activity rooms and going bed to bed with her unique brand of entertainment and chat, inviting you to join her in singing together, sharing stories, laughing, dancing or simply sitting back and enjoying some entertainment.

Reading Friends

SIMON_1_BLOGOver the last months we have been working in partnership with The Scottish Book Trust and The Reading Agency to bring Reading Friends to care for the elderly wards. Reading Friends is a UK wide scheme that uses books and reading as a way of fostering friendship and creating meaningful moments that have long term effects.

We are one of just two projects in Scotland and the first to be bring this project onto hospital wards. Fifteen new volunteers with varied and interesting backgrounds are ready to deliver this brilliant programme after some first class training from our partners at Volunteer Edinburgh. More training is to come as we continue to recruit but we already have a few of our wonderful volunteers visiting Prospect Bank and St. Johns Hospital. Simon Jay, Artlink’s volunteer coordinator for Reading Friends, has been bringing an exciting energy to the scheme:

“Since our first volunteer meeting mid-January, we’ve had new volunteers join us and we’ve begun to get out onto the wards. The volunteers themselves will be able to share their personal experience at one of our regular volunteer meet ups. Personally I have observed how the act of companionship, through sitting alongside someone and reading, can make a difference in unquantifiable ways. For instance, one patient a volunteer was reading to became much more engaged during an hour together looking at photo-books of Edinburgh. Relatives who visited after a Reading Friend had been to visit mentioned that everyone found it easier to talk and engage with each other. On another occasion, visiting a particularly distressed patient in their room calmed them down immediately and they found the companionship very soothing.” Simon Jay, Reading Friends Volunteer Coordinator

Dance at Prospectbank

Amy Sinead Photography

We’d like to welcome back Sarudzai Mutebuka, Senior Charge Nurse at Prospect Bank, you have only been back a short period but your amazing energy and enthusiasm is already showing results!

To expand what’s available in some of the specialist dementia units we work with, we asked Dance Base, who are currently running ‘Step in Time’ across 5 elderly residential homes in Edinburgh, to set up one of their projects at Prospect Bank. ‘Step in Time’ is a creative movement programme for older people. To make sure that the project would be well supported, Emma Stewart-Jones from Dance Base led a training session for care staff. A fun and energising morning explored how dance and creative movement can be used in care environments. To maximise impact of this opportunity Artlink invited activity coordinators from other hospitals to take part too.

Dance Base has now started a set of 8 weekly workshops for residents till the end of March.  Activity Coordinators have been invited to observe how the dance specialist leads these moment sessions. This way they can start to explore how they may incorporate similar ways of working into their own work. Artlink also organise a monthly coffee meet up for Activities Coordinators across hospitals to get us all talking to each other, sharing ways of working and feel more supported by each other.

Thank you to Miss Annabel Sings and Saro for setting up this training programme, it has been a delight to work with you all. Thanks to everyone who joined in the training programme, I really appreciate your energy and open minds’ Emma Stewart-Jones, Dance Base