ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

Full Report 39 Challenges and successes Challenges - It was particularly difficult to build momentum, presence and a knowledge base in the care home when our partner’s key staff changed midway through the project. In addition the care home had to employ many more agency staff postpandemic, which reduced the consistent engagement we could have with the wider staff team. - Communication at the midpoint of the project was a challenge. The care home was dealing with an incredibly challenging context, and so understandably this project was not their priority. This meant that some activity didn’t happen as we would have liked; however, this was addressed later in the project and communication ended up being much more frequent and consistent, and therefore more effective. - Sherrell House is a large care home supporting residents with incredibly diverse needs. It was challenging to devise and develop interventions that supported the differing abilities of every resident. We still feel more could be done to support residents who are at the end of life, or unable to leave their beds. Successes - ‘Touch’ as the project focal point had to evolve to ensure we worked safely and adhered to government guidelines. As such, the formats explored in the project were much more varied than originally expected. Not only did we explore the theme through dance, but we also worked with film, sound design, print, weaving and textiles, supporting the development of our creative practice and the expansion of our freelance artist team. - As our delivery comes to an end, we are enthused to see how inspired and confident our partners are to continue to develop and deliver this creative work. Their belief in how important and desperately needed this type of work is shows their commitment to continuing to invest time and energy in artistic opportunities which engage residents, staff and relatives. - Workshops conducted by Petra with residents, relatives and staff highlighted that residents were able to do more than both family members and staff had previously realised. This has encouraged more positive ways for residents to connect with others. For example, one family member has since brought in their mum’s sewing box, and they now spend time sewing together every visit. As we reach the end of delivery, the overwhelming feeling for both ourselves and our care home partner is that we are only just getting started! Developing effective and meaningful partnerships to support this type of work takes time, and despite this project spanning four years, the interruption of Covid-19 has meant our time together has sadly felt far too short. However there has been some incredible learning for us as a company, and we hope to continue the relationship with Sherrell House into the future.