Kenton Hall care home in Newcastle has signed up for a creative initiative that will include artwork telling the story of older people’s experiences during the Covid pandemic.

The home, in Kenton Lane, is taking part in the Home Comforts artistic project, which will involve artist Sharon Bailey building positive and meaningful relationships with older people, their families and care workers during an eight-month period.

A key aim will be to demonstrate the value of care home residents participating in the Arts and celebrating and sharing the creative achievements of care homes in the wider community.

The scheme, which is financed by Newcastle City Council with Public Health Covid Recovery funding, and supported by Newcastle University, also will focus on:

  • Finding new ways to integrate the arts into care home settings to help benefit older people longer term
  • Attempting something more challenging to address the key issues that have come to the fore during Covid for people living and working in care homes
  • Delivering high quality arts activity that is accessible to people at a time when seeking out such opportunities is difficult.

Elements of Home Comforts will encompass residents helping make artworks that tell of their experiences, including during Covid, which will be shared with others in the community.

It also will involve using different artforms and techniques to explore their stories and life experiences.

Steve Massey, operations director at Solehawk, said: “An important part of the culture at our care homes, including Kenton Hall, is organising a wide range of activities to boost residents’ mental and physical well-being.

“The Home Comforts project shows how beneficial it is to collaborate with external organisations and individuals to add new dimensions to what we can offer.

“It will give our residents and staff the opportunity to learn new arts skills, which can continue to be used even after the project has drawn to an end.”

Sharon Bailey said: “Artistic and creative engagement can prove an effective means of expression by stimulating memories and helping forge relationships and friendships within a care home setting.

“Older people have fascinating stories to tell and their reminiscences and experiences deserve to be shared with the wider community.”

Sharon, an artist and creative producer working within communities across the north east of England and internationally, is renowned for leading projects that span art, heritage and health. She is passionate about telling the stories of those with whom she works.

Kenton Hall, which has 60 beds, cares for those aged 65 and over, who require nursing or personal care. It has been evaluated as good by the CQC.