Speakers: Michelle Kindleysides, Head of Health and Wellbeing and Beth Maston, Health & Wellbeing Support Worker, Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

“Beamish Museum is a large Open air Museum in County Durham. Since 2014 its Health & Wellbeing Team has developed an innovative programme of activities and group sessions for people living with dementia, mental health issues and other long-term health conditions. The Team uses the museum; its collections, buildings & its immersive environment, as the inspiration and unique setting. Rather than being solely focused upon reminiscence, which is often assumed because of the type of museum we are, our work has evolved massively since our early days and we now offer a really full and varied weekly programme of activities. We offer support for a diverse range of audiences, with varying health needs, abilities and levels of engagement. We do not ignore reminiscence; it is all around us. It is familiar and can be comforting but there are also so many other creative opportunities within Museum & Heritage sites, which do not need to rely upon memory.

Like for many of us, the pandemic enforced a pause and an opportunity for reflection. Since March 2021 the team’s focus and strategic development has adapted and refocused, and with really positive outcomes. This small team of 2 staff and fantastic volunteers now receive a constant flow of referrals from our local NHS Adult Mental Health Team, Social Prescribing Link workers and GPs and we are regarded as a valuable community-based asset within our local and regional mental health networks.
We have now outgrown our original space at the museum: ‘Orchard Cottage’. We have been working with architects and our internal design team to design a new, larger space, specifically for our team, as part of our new 1950s development. Part of the challenge has been to design a space that is fully accessible, and dementia friendly, but also is historically accurate and remains familiar and homely to people. How do we make 1950 chintz and the trend for vibrant colours dementia-friendly?!

Our programme is constantly adapting. Adapting to our participants, their needs, their health, the changes in our communities and society and to the Museum, as it also goes through a massive period of change and development.”

May 11 @ 13:00
13:00 — 13:40 (40′)

Theatre 1


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