Strictly Come Caring
A story by Renfrewshire Carers Centre
Our group provided weekly dance sessions followed by a social gathering to reminiscence about all things dancing. Participants enjoy a professionally facilitated seated dance session (which includes the use of musical instruments and a sing-a-long), cuppa and good conversations with new friends.
What Strictly Come Caring did
Our weekly dance sessions have been running successfully since February 2018. They originally took place in a local church hall but our participants decided that they preferred coming into our centre as they felt it more homely and accessible. The group is open to people living with Dementia and their loved ones, who can attend together or provisions for respite were provided. We advertised the group to our Carers and clients, as well as promoted in on social media and through local press.
A number of our Carers reported that they used their respite opportunities to attend other groups (e.g. meditation), relax at home, run personal errands and attend appointments. Our group members decided against a group outing and voted to spend some of their grant money of musical instruments.
We purchased a number or maracas and tambourines which have become firm favourties in the weekly dance routines. We also worked alongside our dancers and their dance teachers to develop a great songbook of tracks and special requests. We're have worked alongside our volunteer project and have the assistance of two wonderful volunteers most weeks.
Our paid staff are also fully committed and enjoy the group.Many friendships have been formed between dancers, their loved ones and support staff. Overall, the group continues to attract high numbers of participants every week and the majority of dancers have been regulars since our beginning. We surpassed our targets for Carers and Cared for People engagement and continue to see new faces popping into the group. The group now feels fully established with continuing momentum.
The introduction of musical instruments was an unplanned addition to the group, which continues to be very popular - the force is strong with the tambourines. Our project has gone to plan and we've been fortunate to be able to accommodate the group's requests to date.
What Renfrewshire Carers Centre has learned
We have gained experience of developing and planning a new project from scratch, creating a group and problem solving to meet the needs of participants. We've also had to be very creative in managing problems which have included: relocating the group, sourcing equipment, transport logistics, and staff rotas.
Developing great partnerships with our dancer teachers has been another highlight. We have worked with local independent artists and connected with one teacher who has a local dance school. We also worked with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival on a poetry initiative and were visited a couple of times by therapists .
How Renfrewshire Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
The support from the Short Breaks Fund has allowed us to set up well attended and publicised group that had raised the profile of our centre. In addition to this, we attracted new Carers and developed links with other local businesses and artists. The experience we gained in setting up and managing the group has increased out confidence to apply for other funding and has contributed to us successfully gaining funding for additional music and movement related groups.
Carers and the people that they care for will have improved wellbeing.
Our dancers reported that they have physically benefited from dancing each week and their moods improve after each session. Participants have also advised us that they enjoy having people to talk to and that they've made new friends.
Mrs F lives with dementia and is cared for by her daughter. She receives care to support her with daily living tasks but has very little time to socialise out with her scheduled care and family visits. The funding that we received allowed us to provide Mrs F with a support worker and transport to attend the group on a weekly basis. During this time, Mrs F has met new friends, socialised and enjoyed dancing to some of her favourite tunes. Her familiarity and confidence has grown and she now attends the group by taxi, travelling alone to and from the group to meet her new friends. Her independence has improved and her Carer/family enjoys knowing that she is engaging in additional social activities that she really enjoys.