On Monday, people living with dementia and their carers were treated to an innovative artistic installation and performance at Royal Trinity Hospice. Delivered by Spare Tyre, a leading participatory arts charity based in London, ‘The Garden’ brought the outdoors in, taking participants on a multisensory journey through the seasons.

During the performance, Spare Tyre artists used methods of non-verbal communication like projection, light, taste, touch, sound and smell to create moments of joy for participants that responded to the individual’s own mode of communication. The project is carefully designed to be appropriate to the physical and psychological needs of participants.

After the performance, carers, staff and volunteers at Trinity took part in a session with the artists to understand how creativity can enhance the lives of people with dementia and to learn how to develop their creative skills.

Macmillan Wellbeing Project Lead, Sian Evans, said “We are very excited to launch our new group with this fantastic performance from Spare Tyre. We could see the patients who participated really enjoyed themselves while the carers have told us they feel inspired to l think more creatively about to engage with their loved ones.”

Arti Prashar, Artistic Director of Spare Tyre, said, "We developed The Garden because, whilst running theatre workshops for older people, I noticed that increasingly there was a rise in the number of people with dementia attending. Care staff told me that it was difficult or impossible to communicate with people with dementia. I found this curious as my participatory arts practice is all about communication, so in The Garden we explore a whole range of different methods of communication. It is wonderful to see it having such an impact at Royal Trinity and the other venues we are visiting."

The performance launched the beginning of Monday Club, a new 12 week programme for people living with dementia and their carers at Trinity. Over the programme, people living with dementia are invited to take part in a range of creative, musical, physical and reminiscence activities while carers are offered tailored support like education from Trinity’s Dementia Nurse Specialists to help them in their caring role.

Monday club is run as part of Trinity’s Macmillan Wellbeing Programme. The Wellbeing Programme, run in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, provides a range of wellbeing activities for patients and carers which are designed to provide greater peer support, empower people to better manage their own health and to promote earlier access to hospice services. For more information about the programme, please email [email protected].