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In Mature Company

In Mature Company takes dance and music into care homes across Leeds, addressing the social isolation of older people living in care across the city.

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About In Mature Company

In Mature Company is a four-year project and part of the Time to Shine programme. It is delivered by Leeds Older People’s Forum and funded through National Lottery Community Fund’s Ageing Better. Time to Shine takes a city-wide approach to addressing the social isolation of older people living in Leeds. 

As one of its’s partner projects In Mature Company has worked in 6 care homes  between September 2018 and March 2020 exploring the impact of dance and music in reducing the loneliness and isolation of residents living with dementia.

The programme looks specifically at the impact of touch and uses Dementia Care Mapping as a research tool to better understand the impact of the sessions. The project delivered a range of one-to-one sessions for residents within their own rooms, small group sessions and larger group sessions. The sessions were delivered by a team of artists – 2 x dance artists & 1 musician per care home. Dance artists: Kirsty Arnold, Tora Hed, Ellen Turner and Rachel Clarke. Musicians: Will Fletcher and Ozzy Moysey. 

Everything changed with the COVID-19 pandemic– with care homes in crisis, residents at their most vulnerable and staff exhausted. 

The many challenges of the past year have made us look afresh at what we do and how we do it. We have had to reimagine how and what we could deliver and how best to support care homes, residents and staff. 

In Summer 2020, when restrictions eased, we delivered outdoor COVID-19 secure, socially distanced creative sessions, in the gardens/car parks of care homes. We were unsure of how to deliver sessions where no touch was involved but the artists excelled and used their creativity and inventiveness. 

Elaine, Leeds Care home commented: Residents who would normally not engage or be involved were dancing away to the music and what we noticed was that the residents were interacting with each other too, which was very special and not a normal occurrence.

Summer 2021 sees the In Mature Company project delivering outdoor sessions with 4 Leeds care homes and bringing the joy of dancing and moving to new communities. Dance artists: Kirsty Arnold, Tora Hed, Ellen Turner and Rachel Clarke. Musicians: Georgie Buchanan  and Will Fletcher.

Recently we have developed a partnership with Leeds Care Delivery team to deliver weekly Zoom sessions for a number of their care homes/day centres. This allows homes to connect with other care homes, to share in an experience with other residents and care staff. Again we have had to adapt and adjust, and the care staff have been wonderful at supporting and engaging residents. They are integral to the success of these sessions. 

We hope to be able to deliver creative sessions in person when it feels safe to do so. We are communicating and liaising with care homes, following government guidance and hope that soon we may all be back to dancing together.   

In Mature Company is also supported by our Dementia Care Mappers Lily Craig and Lauren Clarke. You can find out more about their work here. 

 

We have also released our podcast series Yorkshire Dance Presents: Dancing & Dementia which can be listened to (and downloaded) below. You can find out more about them here.

 

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