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MEETING THE CHILDREN AT BURNLEY ROAD PRIMARY SCHOOL

Verd de Gris is a not-for-profit company based in Hebden Bridge, which works to develop a range of stimulating and meaningful projects for older people here in Calderdale. As well as creating opportunities for artistic expression it advocates for new ways of working with and responds to the needs of older people. Our creative dementia sessions in the Upper Valley provide a meaningful and uplifting afternoon for local people affected by this condition. These sessions take place outside of formal care environments and give people the confidence to express themselves with greater emotion and creativity. Increasingly this has resulted in more and more loved ones staying with us for the afternoon as well - helping them re-connect with their partners and parents. On Tuesday 12th November we invited Donald, Nancy and Norma from our creative dementia group (and their family members) to join the children from Mrs Walker’s Yr 4 class at Burnley Road, for an afternoon of conversation, singing and making art together. It was wonderful to see this genuine exchange of love and understanding … The following Tuesday the children came to see the group at Hebden Bridge Town Hall ... to share songs and poems and to join in some fantastic fun activities with Sharon and dancer Natalie Speake ... Here are some examples of the children’s poems:


Lost You would miss your life. You will feel lonely. The stars will guide you back, If the doors don’t open you might be scared but Sharon will help you. If you were lost inside you would miss your family. The doors in your mind They will close your mind Don’t let it. It will never open again You might feel nervous You might miss yourself by Olivia I would help someone find there self. I would give them the key to open the door to their way back. If I was lost I would find my way back by seeking into my memories. If I struggled seeking my memories I would let my heart guide me back. by Rebecca Trapped in a dream My dear, I am trapped in a dream, with monsters and creatures that scare me. No one can help me to get out, No one but you my dear, come and find me, come and rescue me, my dear. by Cal


If you are lost follow the stars. If you was lost your heart would panic but all you have to do is open the door with the key. If you was lost your mum and dad will always be beside you. If I was lost I would be terrified. by Holly If I was lost I will feel sad and I will miss my puppy. If I can’t find my way back suddenly happiness would pull me. It will pull me home. by Tristain If I was lost I would feel like I left my family. I would be very sad because I would miss my dogs and they would help me find the golden key. The The golden key would make me feel a lot better. My mum and dad would always love me they would do their best to find me. by Charlie H If I was Lost I would feel sad and lonely if I was lost. If I was lost I would miss my family and my cat. If I was lost I would try and find the golden key to the gates of the Land of Forgottoness But I will never give in. By Brandon If someone was lost If someone was lost I would go to them and help them find a way out. I would make them feel better and make them not scared. If they were lost I would try to open the door or try to find a kind person to help them and try to make them help us. I would try to find a key as well. by Marcus


I would help someone else if they were lost. I would guide them back to where they need to go. Where I guide them back to is a warm, happy place with food and drink. by Charlie M You’d feel unhappy and lonely if you were lost, You’d feel frightened and worried, You’d use a map or the sun. Some of the feelings I would miss are love and happiness. Put the golden key in the door. by Joseph The key will come, put this in the door, remember the stars Your heart is special to you. I care about you. Callum will always help you. Help will come to you. Your mum is alway’s next to you Your heart is always with you, never feel scared - the stars will find you. Love is always near you by Callum I would follow the stars. I would feel the energy of my home. I would feel very very sad but I would never give up trying to get back. I would try to unlock the rusty lock to remember what happened. NEVER GIVE UP by Leo


Quotes from the Year 4 Class teacher. “I have always believed in the power of the creative arts and this project bringing old and young together really confirmed the truth of that. Dementia is a condition which has often been misunderstood by society or brushed under the carpet and it felt good to raise awareness in the children so that they can grow to be adults with empathy and understanding. It was thought provoking and very touching witnessing how deeply the children understood the condition and how they developed a real sense of compassion. We explored how dementia can bring a sense of feeling lost and I was amazed at how perceptive the children’s writing about this proved to be. Sharon was a wonderful facilitator in helping the children to engage with some very hard concepts through the use of art, song and poetry. It was a very worthwhile project and one that has touched both generations in a wonderfully positive way. Although there were some sad moments, the overriding emotion was a sense of joy felt by all.� Veronica Walker


School dementia