AN exhibition, which brought the past to life for those living with dementia, has inspired a new film.

The North East Lost Dialect exhibition at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields, explored traditional North East words, phrases and songs, many of which are now rarely used.

And its effect on visitors with various stages of dementia was so profound that The Word has now commissioned a film, specially to help South Tyneside residents who are living with the condition.

Titled, The Place We Love, the film is a collaboration between The Word, writer Tom Kelly and local filmmakers, Unified Films, and takes Tom on the journey of his life.

Using images from South Tyneside Libraries archives and new footage, Tom walks viewers to places and buildings in the area which have been important to him over the years.

The aim is to prompt a memory for those people living with dementia and to encourage carers to ask questions which may bring memories back to life.

“As part of the Lost Dialect exhibition there was an interactive jukebox playing Benny Graham singing local folk songs,” said Tom, “and I saw how emotional one man got when his mother – who had quite severe dementia – started to sing along.

“That wasn’t a unique reaction, either. This film takes me around South Tyneside, from my birthplace to where I have worked, including my first job at the Mercantile Dry Dock, Jarrow. I walk around the streets and pubs that have stayed in my heart and head.

“And I really feel that if these memories mean something to me, they may well stir memories for carers and those living with dementia, hopefully providing solace and happiness.”

The film, which will be accompanied by a quiz of lost dialect words and local songs and will also contain advice from Alzheimer’s Society, was originally discussed with members of South Tyneside Libraries’ Living Well with Dementia group at Hebburn and received positive feedback.

In making The Place We Love, Unified Films has also worked closely with Alzheimer’s Society to ensure it will have the desired impact for people living with dementia and to signpost where people living with dementia and their carers can access support.

Jon Burton, from Unified Films said: “Our vision for the film has developed alongside meeting and working with people from Alzheimer’s Society and dementia groups, who have helped us learn more about and further understand the condition.

“We would very much like to provide those whose lives are affected by dementia with a resource they can use to potentially reconnect with parts of themselves they might otherwise find inaccessible.”

Tania Robinson, Head of Culture at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, said: “Art and culture can play a significant role in improving people’s health and wellbeing and that is a key priority for South Tyneside Council and The Word.

“We are delighted to be working alongside a local writer, local filmmakers and Alzheimer’s Society to produce this film for South Tyneside residents.”

The film will be shown in the current Word Bank of Lost Dialects exhibition at The Word from Tuesday 12 November until 5 January 2020.

It will also be available to download FREE via and YouTube, and on DVD from Shop @ The Word for a small charge.

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