Age Concern’s Renew You! project in Harborne, Birmingham, encouraged the social and creative expression of older people. The aim was to enhance the lives of those who live with dementia or physical or mental health concerns.
A four-year grant funded a full-time project manager and a part-time administrative assistant. Renew You is the descendant of the Artscope project, which had positive effects on participants suffering from dementia. The length of the project helped the organisation to achieve goals that couldn’t be met in a year or two.
One man, who volunteers at the centre and whose mother attended the Thai Chi classes, says: “My mother came back home and started talking more, it completely changed our families dynamics." The participants benefit greatly from the camaraderie, exercise, relaxation and the ability to take home their activities. Many of the elderly participates had problems communicating verbally, but the classes helped them express their feelings through other actions, such as painting or dancing.