Project information

Resonate: Art for Thought

Art for Thought offers opportunities for older people with memory loss to try new arts techniques and benefit from supported gallery visits to stimulate friendships, interests, support healthy aging and reduce the health risk of isolation. A partnership between Westminster Arts & The Memory Service.

January 2011 - July 2011

Charity information

Westminster Arts

Westminster Arts logo
  • Need


    Statistics show that people are living longer and dementia is increasing. Early diagnosis with positive early intervention is crucial to personhood and living well with dementia. In line with the National Dementia Strategy, Art for Thought allows people recently diagnosed or in the process of being so, to find strategies to cope with dementia and come to terms with their diagnosis. It supports people to live at home with an increased sense of confidence and motivation.


    During the potentially disorientating phase of diagnosis, people will be offered the chance to join Art for Thought: offering new opportunities to get out of the house, sample new therapeutic activity, meet new friends, exercise new social roles, get involved in meaningful activity and discuss memory loss with others in a supportive environment. This process may lead to an increased sense of purpose or further involvement in arts activity including arts within a personalised care package.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Ensure people with memory loss feel supported and able to access appropriate services


    » Develop the project in partnership with The Memory Service to meet local needs and broker activities to people referred to Westminster Memory Service
    » Bespoke interactive visits to arts spaces around Westminster
    » Promote evaluation as a learning tool for future projects and the sustainability of this project

    Increased referrals to Westminster Memory Service and new bespoke interactive visits to more arts spaces around Westminster

    Aim 2

    Introduce older people with memory loss to new interests or reactivate old ones


    » • 10 arts based sessions for 10 adults living with dementia
    » • Visit 5 gallery spaces locally and offer 5 practical arts sessions that offer tasters in a variety of arts techniques
    » • Offer follow-on service with Dementia Advisor to develop arts interests and promote independence
    » • produce and display original artwork at a celebration event and as a legacy of the project

    Increased guided visits to galleries and arts spaces, organisations are encouraged to provide new services to people with dementia, and people feel happy to revisit interests

    Aim 3

    Provide a platform for giving information about dementia and so dispelling fears about the future


    » • offer informal advice about memory loss during the arts sessions and encourage participants to share experiences and information
    » • Sessions followed up by occupational therapists

    A network involving experts, staff, carers and people with dementia can access information and experiences can be shared

    Aim 4

    Support participants to create friendship networks and source new ways of decreasing isolation


    » • Create interactive and mutually supportive environment to allow friendships to develop
    » • Support people to feel they are welcomed to arts spaces and are at ease with going out and accessing arts opportunities
    » • encourage people to swap contacts and foster peer support network activity

    People with dementia more regularly visit arts spaces and are at ease with going out and accessing arts opportunities, are more interactive and meet new friends

  • Impact


    • The project will effect the way early intervention for people with dementia is delivered in Westminster. This will demonstrate positive ways to live well with dementia, by developing care beyond diagnosis.
    • People will feel more able to approach dementia services if they associate them with creative or social activity. Greater uptake of services and supported visits to arts spaces will help challenge stigma - organisations are encouraged to open doors to marginalised groups


    • Insufficient take up – widen net to other services
    • Participants can’t get to venues due to physical disability/confusion – included transport costs in budget
    • Participants forget to attend – will be called day before; collected / escorted
    • Artist becomes unwell - another member of Resonate team deputises
    • Artwork not sufficiently robust to exhibit – include artists’ finishing time
    • Mobility issues/falls during session or visit: provide sufficient escorts, personal assessments


    Email programme of activities, testimonials and special stories, Westminster Arts’ quarterly e-bulletin, email final evaluation report, articles on website and local press, invitation to visit exhibition of work.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £9,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,750 Artist fees & volunteers 11 art sessions for older people
      £775 Administration Running costs, admin support
      £1,000 Materials, Mounting Materials and equipment
      £1,200 Travel Cost of transport of older people
      £1,400 Chaperones Trained assistance
      £1,375 Management fee Westminster Arts, overheads
      £1,500 Staff Programme Manager

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Keith Morris £3,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Westminster is in the heart of London with prestigious districts and landmarks including theatre, art galleries etc. It is one of the wealthiest boroughs but one of extremes, with pockets of deprivation.

    Of a population of 230,000, approx 25,000 are older people: 56% female, 44% male; 84% White, 16% Black and Minority ethnic. About 1,760 residents are expected to have a diagnosis of dementia but presently only 596 people are recorded.


    Older people living in Westminster who are recently diagnosed or are in the process of being diagnosed with memory problems, referred to the new Memory Service by GPs and other local primary care and voluntary services. About 75% of older people in contact with social services have some memory problems.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Over the last ten years, Westminster Arts has been producing innovative arts projects in partnership with local services for older people. Our key partnership with Westminster Adult & Community Services was instrumental in securing funding from NHS Westminster for Resonate, a pioneering arts programme for older people with dementia which supports delivery of the National Dementia Strategy. Art for Thought, a development of Resonate will help to ensure a long-term legacy for the work

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Kathryn Gilfoy

    Resonate Programme Manager since August ‘09, developing local networks and producing arts projects; 18 years arts experience with older people

    Sarah Cellan-Jones

    Senior Occupational Therapist Memory Service, specialist in group work and dementia – has developed welcome projects to support on-going care