Resource produced for Hinckley and Bosworth borough residents recently diagnosed with dementia.

ABOM soft launch PR photo



Yesterday we soft launched our resource produced for borough residents recently diagnosed with dementia.

By Katherine Brown
May 21st 2014

Beauty and Utility Arts have been commissioned by The Hinckley and Bosworth Health and Wellbeing Partnership to develop a dementia resource for residents of Hinckley and Bosworth. After working with and listening to individuals and organisations across the area ‘A Book Of Me’ has been produced and will be offered to people after a recent diagnosis of dementia later on this year. The folder is a place to store and find relevant information together with sections designed to stimulate conversation and memories.

Katherine Brown, Director of Beauty and Utility Arts “This week is National Dementia Awareness Week and we wanted to let local people know about the resource we have been designing. A Book of Me has been very well received during its development stages and we are looking forward to launching it fully later on this Summer.”

Simon Jones, Health Lead at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council said “The Hinckley and Bosworth Health and Wellbeing Partnership have commissioned this folder as part of its work to provide the best health information and guidance to people in the borough. Working in partnership with Beauty and Utility Arts we intend that this book will become integral to the support package enabling people to live well with Dementia.”

The photo shows us holding the resource in front of some of intergenerational work at an awareness event yesterday with l – r Howard Wilkins – Dementia Champion, Katherine Brown -Director of Beauty and Utility Arts, Juanita Vogel – contributor, Lindsay Orton Locality Mental Health Strategic Co-ordinator at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

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Look what we made! – Completing our Donnington intergenerational project

Loving gaze! 15.4.14

On Tuesday we completed our Donnington le Heath based intergenerational project, working with participatory artist Rikke Digerud and film maker Trevor Cobbe.

There were hugs and kisses and once again I felt a little bit sad at our work coming to a close – until I spent some time looking back over the photos and film and now I’m just happy we were there, sharing five fantastic weeks with some real characters, old and young and we’re already planning something new!

During our final session together Trevor and I filmed some evaluation interviews with the adults and children who had taken part, while Rikke supported buddies making thank-you cards for each other.

Below are a few photos of some cards and above are the finished pieces of artwork held by me (left) and Rikke (right). I usually hate having my photo taken, but this one made me smile – we were only messing about with this pose, but I quite like it (let’s hope Rikke does too 😉

Agar Nook community centre in Coalville will take one piece away with them and our older residents will have the other for their communal lounge area.

Just to remind you how we did it, Rikke and I worked with our group on a WW1 theme, looking at poetry, animals and words that derived from the conflict. Rikke prepared the wood with maps depicting WW1 locations and together we all made wire WW1’s covered with yarn, sewed WW1 words onto mini cushions, which then had the Union Jack added on by Rikke and created papier mache pigeons and poppies.

I really love the end result and once again, all those ladies who told us they “couldn’t do art” … really? 🙂

15.4.14 TY card Collage.jpg

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Books in Prisons – changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme

Changes made to Incentives and Earned Privileges for prisoners has sparked a huge response from artists, writers, charities, academics, ex prisoners and many many others over the last week.

One implication of these changes is that prisoners can no longer be given books or art materials from outside prison, unless they earn or are given the money to buy them. On all sides of this debate there is agreement that books and basic art materials, such as paper and pencil, are essential for all prisoners – not least because they support safe imprisonment and effective rehabilitation. Koestler Trust statement

Feelings run high around these issues, so I can only speak from the perspective of one individual who set up a Social Enterprise four years ago with one main aim – to develop and manage creative projects with social benefits.

Over the four years I’ve worked with a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations all in need of some inspiration, motivation and support to get their message out there or just to improve their own private wellbeing.

In 2012 we partnered on the My Living Voice: Project which aimed to highlight the lived experience of the judicial system by ex- offenders, using arts workshops, materials and art work to raise awareness of issues and barriers faced with resettlement. The project culminated in a very professional exhibition containing some incredible artwork. Yes, this was a community based arts project, but all our participants were self taught in prison and in many cases it was art that gave them the strength to make changes and get through.

The Man Inside poster 2012

Now, each to their own, but I’d like to share a little bit of the feedback from that project and I hope my standpoint on this news issue is clear.

“Prior to prison I had little if no experience of art in the practical sense, and never really contemplated that it would form such a major part of my life. I have received no professional guidance and am completely self taught. I only wish that I had found art earlier in my life. The feeling of tranquillity that I experience when absorbed in this form of expression is to me unique it’s as though I have been granted a new sense of life. I am constantly learning and very much at the commencement of my journey. Through the “My Living Voice” art group I have been able to expand my comfort zone and have been able to push my boundaries into new materials, methods and disciplines. I have so many new avenues to explore.” A – member of the Art Group

Outcome: Increased confidence and well being in participants. Increased skills development in participants.

“The project has given me a focus – something to achieve and helped me get back into something I haven’t done for a while. It has given me a chance to look back at my life and get things in perspective. Also it ties in with the fact that I am going into rehab quite soon. I do have a chance to change things and this project has helped me to see that. It has given a focus and purpose back into my life.” J – member of the Art Group

Outcome: Reduced likelihood of misuse of substances/deterioration of health/mental wellbeing.

The Exhibition – An exhibition of the work produced by the Art Group took place in December 2012 at St Nicholas Church in Leicester. The poster for the exhibition and its title, “The Man Inside”, were ideas and designs from group members. Over 200 people came to the exhibition. The art work was available for sale with profits partly going to the artists and partly to fund a continuation of the art beyond the Innovation Challenge Programme. A number of exhibits were chosen to go on display at New Walk Art Gallery, Leicester.

Outcomes: Public awareness raised of personal experiences of judicial system and barriers to resettlement of ex-offenders via a number of open events.

“My Living Voice gave residents the opportunity to channel their feelings and thoughts, of their experiences of the Criminal Justice System, into paintings, sculptures, installations and scripts. It has also given them the opportunity to develop their confidence and attain new skills. The supportive environment within which the programme was delivered allowed residents to not only be within a learning environment but also to build positive peer relations. “ Viv Michell, Regional Manager Adullam


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Two new intergenerational projects for 2014

Intergenerational work is something I really love setting up and getting involved in. You never quite know how a project is going to run or what kind of responses you’ll get from those participating.

Last year Beauty and Utility Arts were successful with two applications for intergenerational funding and since January we’ve been happy and busy with workshops.

The first set of four workshops ran in Ashby de la Zouch between Lewis Charlton School, for secondary-aged students who have experienced difficulties within mainstream and possibly other special education provision and EMH Homes Prior Park site, which provides sheltered and retirement housing for older people.

Workshops were co-facilitated by Katherine Brown (Beauty and Utility Arts) and participatory artist Lisa Pidgeon (Little Bird School of Stitchcraft) and filmed by Trevor Cobbe. The project was funded by the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Partnership for LeicesterShire and Rutland’s Wellbeing Hi 5 programme.

FB collage Ashby intergenerational.jpg

The second series of workshops are currently underway between children from Agar Nook Community Centre in Coalville and older residents from St. Mary’s Court in Donnington le Heath.

This time Katherine has co-facititated with participatory artist Rikke Digerud and film maker Trevor Cobbe. Funding came from the North West Leicestershire Staying Healthy Community Grant.

Donnington collage 18.3.14.jpg

In both sets of workshops our theme has been WW1, linking in with the 100 year anniversary of the conflict and in the weeks to come we’ll be releasing a DVD for our funders showing the benefits of intergenerational Arts and Health activities in more detail.



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Days 34 – 40 #5ways2wellbeing

Day 34 #takenotice

I’m a Dementia Champion and fully support the need for more people to become Dementia Friends. Have you seen this fantastic film using a bookcase analogy?

Day 35 #takenotice No two days are ever the same and sometimes, when things get very busy I feel as though I’ve lost control of myself a bit and that’s not something I’m comfortable with. It happens every now and again, that’s just a fact, so it’s time to stop, take notice, cut out some of the noise, make a plan and start again. Simples.

Day 36 #takenotice

I saw a really cute cuddly fox toy in December while I was doing my Christmas shopping and these paintings by Bev Morant’s art group reminded me of that afternoon. GetAttachment-3.aspx

Day 37 Please can I sneak these in for #keeplearning within a very new vegetarian diet.

GetAttachment-1.aspxDay 38 #keeplearning Going through the script for our 22nd Feb Comedy Asylum show.




Day 39 #takenotice 2 special greyhounds have passed away recently, so after a Sat working I’m going home to give my 2 hugs.

Day 40 #keeplearning Porridge experiments. Banana, brown sugar and sunflower seeds. I love Sundays!


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Days 23 – 33 #5ways2wellbeing

Day 23 #take notice – Did a 5 min desk tidy & polish to refocus!

Day 24 #takenotice A reminder of an alcohol misuse DVD we produced in partnership with Lunchbox Films and people using alcohol support services at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Blaby District Council and Oadby Borough Council

Day 25 #give – Another mini clear out and a carrier bag of clothes for a local charity shop

Day 25

Day 26 #takenotice I’ve shown my support for The Woodland Trust campaign to protect ancient woodland

Day 27 #give Sorting through books, giving away and making space in what will become the bathroom.

Day 27

Day 28 #connect Intergenerational workshop no 3 this am & a Burbage mental health roadshow this pm

Day 28

Day 29 #beactive A cold, wet, bracing dog walk this morning. I would love this photo as a painting!


Day 30 #connect A good comedy session with a group of super bubbly Leicester Asian ladies this afternoon.

Day 31 #keeplearning  My ravioli cutter has arrived! Looking forward to having a go this weekend.


Day 32 #5ways2wellbeing #takenotice Big house clean-builder’s been here all week & then a walk in the beautiful sunshine we have here today.

Day 33 #keepactive Fab walk at Ryton Pools with the East Midlands Dog Rescue greyhound groups. Met Birmingham Greyhound Protection boy Timmy. Photo  is post walk when Sid was asleep until my sandwich appeared!

Day 33 Sid

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Days 17 – 22 #5ways2wellbeing

Day 17 – #beactive

Boy did that feel like a long day! Option 1 felt like the one to go for – close the curtains, make some nice food and say hello to the sofa. Options 2 was to go for a jog…so I did…and I’m pleased I did because me and my running partner Katherine nailed the first jog of week two on the Couch to 5 k app and that felt great. I’ve found over thinking about going out is the worst thing to do. I almost have to surprise myself with it and although it’s been a challenge, I’ve felt really energised and actually dare I say, enjoyed it.

Day 18 #connect

I spent a lovely hour this morning with one of my neighbours chatting through some creative opportunities she’s been exploring. I even stroked the cat for a few minutes, which is quite an achievement for me … tricky creatures 🙂 and came away with a box of eggs which travelled all the way from the end of L’s garden over the road into my kitchen…fab. Betty the greyhound knows what eggs are now so I’ve had to move them out of reach after I caught her licking them the other day! Makes a change from licking the carpet I suppose.

Day 18

Day 19 #connect and #beactive

I need no excuse to get outside, especially on a beautiful sunny but cool day like today. A happy hour spent tidying the garden and doing a bit of (very) late planting helped, of course, by Betty the greyhound. I hope to start up or get involved in more outdoor Arts and Health projects this year and fingers crossed we can get some more funding to restart Points of Interest.



Day 20 – #takenotice

Last week I had a huge craving for tomatoes and this week it’s peas so I’ve listened to my body and made some incredible pea, mint and cannellini bean soup. Yum.

Day 20

Day 21 #connect and #keeplearning

This morning was the second of four intergenerational workshops in Ashby and we saw some creative talent, particularly by a couple of the boys who had never tried stitching before, but picked it up straight away with the support of the project’s participatory artist Lisa Pidgeon Photos to follow soon – we were too busy making things 🙂

Day 22 #takenotice #give and #connect

I worked from home for a couple of hours this morning so I could get on top of a few jobs. Sometimes the week flies past so quickly I get to the weekend, look and the house and think ‘how did that happen!’. A quick snap of the washing machine in action as proof was photo bombed by Betty … Sid does still exist, he just sleeps a lot 🙂

Day 22

A friend has just texted to ask if I’ll add another photo in. I know she’s been working super hard recently and some days have been more uphill than others, so I bought some flowers. They’re from a local florist too, so everyone’s a winner!

day 22


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Days 15 – 16 #5ways2wellbeing and a guest blog post from Richard Chester

Day 15 was spent at a local dementia conference packed full of research, projects and questions for the future. I have to say I was shattered by the end so decided to TAKE NOTICE and relax with some good food, a film and a cuddle from the bears.

Day 16 and I have come across two great items on the internet for KEEP LEARNING. If you listen to the fantabulous Chris Evans on Radio 2 as well, you’ll know he’s been promoting First Aid awareness most of this week. I’ve just downloaded the free British Red Cross First Aid app to my phone for quick reference.

The second is this great little animation called ‘The Distracted Mind’ about why our brains just can’t cope with using our phones and driving.

Last, but by no means least a guest blog post by Richard Chester explaining just how he works the #5ways2wellbeing into his already packed schedule. Just as Richard says, I hope this spurs you on with your own 2014 challenges

Enjoy … and get involved by using the #5ways2wellbeing hashtag on Twitter and telling us what you’re up to.

100920163041_H B4Marathon Photo 13

My name is Richard Chester and I am the Head of Patient Experience at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, my role involves a lot of sitting down in meetings with patients and carers or at a computer writing reports, I also spend a lot of time in my car driving.

I enjoy setting myself active challenges and then training to achieve them, I don’t enjoy training for the sake of keeping fit!

In doing these challenges I am able to raise money for The Laura Centre a local charity which helps people to deal with family bereavement and continue with their own life after the death of someone close.

Previous challenges I have done include, running in relay the A470 from Llandudno to Cardiff, the Scotland Coast to Coast challenge and the London Marathon twice.

 Apart from keeping active and helping raise money for charity the amazing thing from these challenges has been to take notice of the beautiful countryside and in the case of the Marathon the wonderful atmosphere that goes with it.

My next challenges are to run the 68 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in two days this summer, train for Lands’ End to John O’Groats for next week and in the long term complete the Marathon des Sable a 158 mile run across the Sahara in six days.

Set yourself a challenge in 2014 and go for it.   

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Days 13 – 14 #5ways2wellbeing

Day 13 #5ways2wellbeing was a KEEP LEARNING day for me. Always on the hunt for new tasty recipes, I tried my hand at blueberry muffins for breakfast and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Day 13


Day 14 – a bit of all #5ways2wellbeing

I’ve been looking forward to this day for a good few months. All the preparation, planning and funding talks were worth it.

Beauty and Utility Arts have received Leicestershire County Council ‘Hi 5’ funding to run a four week intergenerational project with participatory artist Lisa Pidgeon and film maker Trevor Cobbe. The project will work with EMH Homes Prior Park and Lewis Charlton School, Ashby de la Zouch. The theme will be the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW1, linking in with a Lewis Charlton’s 2014 focus.

We will be using reminiscence objects, images and poetry to stimulate discussion and participants will work together to produce two wall hangings; one for Lewis Charlton and one for Prior Park.

Today we spent our time getting to know each other – our names and favourite activities and sharing them with the group.  



We started our discussions about WW1 with some poetry, read out loud by two group members. The first was a pro war poem by Leicester born Jessie Pope called ‘Who’s for the Game?‘ which makes war and fighting sound like an unmissable opportunity. The second poem, the well known ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen is a response based on the realities of being a soldier on the front line. 

Participants from Prior Park talked about their own families being involved in The Great War and the stories and objects passed down to them. We then compared some of life today with back then, thinking about the computer games played by B against the 16 year old boy in 1914 with no prior knowledge of fighting. 

Towards the end of the session we started thinking about all the animals that helped during the war; horses, pigeons, dogs and most surprisingly the elephants and camels mentioned in a previous post.

Lisa showed the group the Paul Nash inspired background she’d prepared and next week we’ll be getting our fingers busy, drawing and sewing – can’t wait.



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Days 9 – 12 #5ways2wellbeing


I walk past this building most days I walk into work and it always catches my eye, particularly the AD 1911.

Day 9

Up until now, the only thing I knew was that it was bound to link in with Hinckley’s well known hosiery industry history and many of the other original factories that still stand – often derlict, but protected.

This factory was the three storey Puffer’s Unique Hosiery Works, constructed in 1911, which stands at the corner of Neal’s Yard and Druid Street. Through an Egyptian styled cart entrance on Druid Street, a cobbled jitty connects through a glazed roofed courtyard to a similar entrance on Bond Street. The elevations of the factory consist of large steel windows divided by brick pilasters. It also has a partial basement.

Here’s a link to a 360 degree peak inside …

Day 10 – GIVE

I went to see Lisa Pidgeon today to talk through our new intergenerational project, starting next week. Lisa introduced me to Rochelle, a Nutrition & Lifestyle Health Coach, mentioned in her latest #5ways2wellbeing update and as part of my own experience, finding out more about food with Rochelle, I tried these cocoa nibs. I didn’t like them in the end, but know Lisa’s family love them!

Day 10

Day 11 – BE ACTIVE

A great afternoon spent at Burbage Common woods with friends on a stick hunt. I about had to carry my dogs home, but I think from the look on Betty’s face, she enjoyed it 🙂

Day 11


I have been doing a bit of design research today and this came up – a project working with prisoners looking at prison cell design. I really support the fact that your environment plays a huge part in many areas of life and can see the benefits to this exploring a project like this – the writer does acknowledge there is a degree of window dressing in these pictures that wouldn’t be acceptable in prisons, but I’d say it’s a great conversation starter..





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