Dementia project coming to Malvern

A project which helps adults with dementia relive past memories through the art of storytelling is being rolled out across Malvern.

Museums Worcestershire has secured a £32,000 funding boost to take their Suitcase Stories project countywide. Malvern Hills District Council is supporting the scheme locally through its Ageing Well grant, alongside major contributions from Arts Council England, The Elmley Foundation and Worcestershire County Council.

Workshops will take place over six weeks at Malvern Cube between 11am and 1pm starting on 31 October. The sessions, which cost £2 per person, allow adults living with dementia, and their carers, to revive memories from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s through looking, touching and smelling objects and pictures.

The memories of the adults living with dementia, and the museum handling objects, will inspire the artistic process to create a live performance of storytelling and music from the minds of Worcestershire residents. From these memories new stories about Worcestershire’s past will be sourced and written.

These will then be performed live by a talented musician and storyteller, Gavin and Gemma Young, in six local dementia cafes (Malvern, Worcester, Kidderminster, Redditch and Bromsgrove), connecting residents of Worcestershire to their memories using arts and heritage.

By bringing together museum objects for reminiscence, and the arts for creative expression, Museums Worcestershire is aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of Worcestershire residents living with dementia.

The project is also taking place in five other locations across Worcestershire.

Gemma Dhami from Museums Worcestershire said: “Suitcase Stories is an exciting opportunity for Worcestershire residents to experience the impact of arts and culture on health and wellbeing. By bringing together objects from Museums Worcestershire and the artistic skills of Storyteller Gavin Young, we hope to create an exciting and worthwhile experience for many of our residents”

Cllr David Watkins, Portfolio of Healthier Communities on Malvern Hills District Council said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to support Suitcase Stories and provide a valuable experience for people living with dementia. This project delivers against our priority of improving people’s health and we look forward to seeing the outcome.”

Cllr John Smith, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Well-being said: "The Suitcase Stories project will make a great contribution to helping people living with dementia in Worcestershire to lead a healthy and happy life. Thanks to all the partners involved, the tremendous social and health benefits of this project will reach throughout the county."

The project will work with 72 people across the county directly, with over 200 more benefiting as a live audience. The stories will also be recorded and made available as a podcast and CD on various websites.

For more information and to book a place contact Jenny Davis, Project manager by emailing or call 07946 585978.