ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

16 Dare To Imagine Matching homes and building support Simone Bullen worked with Helen Bennett, Essex Operations Director, to shortlist homes in Essex with capacity to join the project. Susan and Kate visited them all with Simone, meeting the Care Home Managers, staff and residents, aiming to understand each home’s particular situation and personality. The four of us then met and after much discussion partnered the four arts partners with four care homes, based on what they had all told us about their work and ambitions for ARCH. Together with Simone’s ongoing project leadership, Excelcare assigned a member of the Head Office Lifestyle & Innovation (L&I) team to each residency: Simona Petrehus, Alvin Singelee and Di Veness. Their role was to facilitate communications between the partners and across Excelcare and take on some key tasks and additional work which would inevitably be generated, ensuring homes could in Simone’s words “fully embrace this opportunity”. Gloria Read, also joined the project from Excelcare as a Dementia Specialist to offer training and support, as always, for care home teams, and also for the artists. Cohort Day 1: Getting to know one another An introductory Cohort Day in east London in September 2019 brought together 19 staff and freelancers from the four arts partners, Magic Me, Excelcare and ARU, who all shared their practice and interest in the project. Sally Knocker, Dementia Specialist and Trainer, co-led the day, offering an introduction to working creatively within care homes and ARU led an exploration of our aims, hopes and fears for our work together. Sally continued to provide ongoing support throughout the four years. Cohort Day 2: Introductory sessions at care homes Through Autumn 2019 each arts organisation spent a day visiting their partner home, accompanied by ARU, Magic Me and Excelcare L&I staff. Each day included: an introduction to the home from the Manager, Lifestyle Coordinator and other key staff; a tour to meet residents and staff and sometimes to join in that day’s activities; and an introduction to the arts partner’s practice, through talks, films and experiential activities to take part in. ARU introduced their role and approach. There was plenty of time for Q&A and Magic Me facilitated discussions to start to agree joint expectations for each residency and how to work together. Homes provided lunch for everyone and we felt very welcome. Getting started Contracts and agreements It was important for each pair to negotiate and have a clear agreement of the roles and responsibilities of each partner which was signed by the Care Home Manager, the lead from the arts organisation, and Magic Me. It covered work within the homes and beyond including: • roles of care home staff in supporting residents to participate • roles of artists during their residency • schedules, timings, rooms, storage of materials, refreshments • how best and with whom to communicate, and what information to share • safeguarding, confidentiality and consent; activity risk assessments • keeping diaries, records or registers to document what happens