Photo 1 – Pauline Buttery at Queens Meadow (2)

A £10,000 Big Lottery grant has helped keep residents connected at Queen Meadow Care Home in Hartlepool.

The funding was used to purchase tablet computers and pay for tutors to teach residents how to use them.

Julie Armstrong, home manager, said: “The project has been a great success. It has given residents not just a window into the wider world but a chance to interact with it as well, helping them to stay connected and continue their personal learning and development.

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“We’ve seen people who were withdrawn due to their dementia really come out of their shells and talk about their lives, as well as their likes and dislikes, which has been great.”

The project was run in conjunction with Equal Arts, a charity promoting creative activities for older people.

Paul Murray, group facilitator from Equal Arts, said: “We’ve used the tablets for many projects, one of the favourites has been to prompt reminiscence sessions.

“We’ve looked at where residents used to live and work using Google maps street view. In some cases, residents have discovered how much they have in common after seeing that they were near neighbours and attended the same school.

“We’ve held craft activities by watching how-to videos on YouTube and then undertaking an activity based on these. We’re currently learning how to take photos and make videos using the tablets, much to everyone’s enjoyment.”

Queens Meadow Care Home and Equal Arts have applied to the Big Lottery Fund to extend the project for another year.

Further funding would be used to extend residents knowledge and skills with digital technology, using communications software and social media to communicate with friends and family.

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The author Lee Peart

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