At the end of last year we were approached by the fantastic organisation Art in the Park, to discuss the possibility of introducing a new art group, specifically for people living with a diagnosis of dementia. Our Dementia Team were quick to take up this exciting opportunity and add the group to our existing dementia services, which currently include other online social and activity groups, and telephone befriending.

Art in the Park offer art workshops to people of all ages and abilities; they work with schools, community groups and professional teams on tailor-made educational art and heritage projects, with the aim to involve everybody. We were delighted to have this opportunity to offer our friends living with dementia a new art group and the sessions proved to be very successful last year with high attendance and plenty of engagement from group members.

So, we were thrilled when Art in Burgess Park approached us again in January to offer more sessions! Since then, the group have practiced paper cuts in the style of Matisse, doodling in the Madhubani folk art style and produced portraits of each other – a la Picasso. Story telling is woven through some of the sessions, and the group has followed the journey of Prince Lee Boo and the tragic life of Persephone. Music and movement are included in each session too and the group have danced along to Zorba the Greek, swayed to south Pacific music, and have even attempted acrobatics!

All the art materials are kindly provided by Art in the Park, but often just simple pen on paper produces great results. Everyone has been enthusiastic and willing to share their masterpieces and we have discovered many budding artists among the group; some of our artists continue to practice during the week. Art is a calming and absorbing activity that everyone can enjoy, and these sessions have been educational, fun and challenging for all.

The next art session will be a photography workshop where we introduce portraiture, starting with a review of the "Lost Trades" exhibition which documented, now defunct, businesses in Islington by a group of older photographers. We will use these photos as inspiration for drawings, and possibly take some of our own on smart phones.

This session will take place on Thursday 18th March at 2pm and although the group is very well attended, we have room for 2 extra people who live with dementia and who may be interested to try it out. Please get in touch with us via [email protected] if you or someone you know would like to join. If you would like to see more artwork by the group, please follow us on Instagram: @linkagesouthark