30 Jul 2021
Older people with dementia in deprived areas throughout Northern Ireland are benefitting from the ancient art of storytelling.
The Armstrong Storytelling Trust are using stories to inspire reminiscence and exercise the long term memory of participants on the project, reducing social isolation and increasing activeness for those taking part.
Funded by the Foundation’s Telecommunity Fund, the Armstrong Storytelling Trust, storytellers have visited Residential Care Homes and Activity Centres in Belfast, Derry, Newry, Armagh, Coalisland, Larne, Ballymena and the Causeway area to deliver “D’ye mind the day?”
Liz Weir, Project Coordinator for the Trust and Storyteller in Residence for Libraries NI is convinced of the healing powers of the ancient art of storytelling. “Even when short-term memory is greatly impaired, our clients can be inspired through stories and music to recite poetry learned by heart in their youth. They will share memories of school days, the war and other personal anecdotes and particularly love singing all the old songs, when again they amaze us by knowing them word for word.
“We have anecdotal reports from staff members of how the mood of their group members has been uplifted by the storytelling sessions and how conversations have continued for days after the storytellers have left. This has been a productive and rewarding project with which to be involved”.
“D’ye mind the day” has benefited groups in nine deprived areas of Northern Ireland, reaching a total of 169 people with dementia and their carers.
The Armstrong Storytelling Trust was set up by Roger Armstrong in memory of his parents Peg and Jack Armstrong, who were passionate about the ancient art of storytelling and started an adult storytelling group, Tullycarnet Yarnspinners which has been meeting on a monthly basis since 1991.
To find out how you can apply to the Telecommunity Fund, click here.
Watch the Armstrong Storytelling Trust, storytellers online here.