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'Roots & Branches' receives £74,729 in National Lottery funding

Solent Mind and Theatre for Life have been granted over £74,000 in National Lottery funding for their 'Roots & Branches' intergenerational theatre programme.

A man called Bob stands and speaks as another man applauds

Solent Mind and Theatre for Life are celebrating today after being awarded £74,729 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

They will use their funding to provide an inter-generational, community led and creative programme, connecting young people (14-25 years) with older people with dementia. This will include weekly creative activities, where the groups will be sharing experiences to gain an insight into each others lives through restorative and arts based activities which improve health, wellbeing and social isolation.

‘Roots and Branches’ will be working with people with dementia through Remind Dementia Services in Portsmouth and Mayfield Nurseries in Southampton. 

Abigail Oakley, founder of Solent Mind's Heads Up programme, said: “We at Solent Mind are delighted to be in partnership with Theatre for Life on the Roots and Branches project. It is a fantastic opportunity to work with both older people with dementia and their carers and young theatre makers sharing their experiences and supporting their wellbeing."

Michelle Smith, Artistic Director at Theatre for Life, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this grant means that we can develop a deeper understanding on how creative interaction between generations can enhance lives and build cohesive communities.

"Engaging in weekly creative activities and opening up conversations will provide a chance to value the differences between different generations as well as discover the common ground.”

The programme will be supporting 23 older people with early onset to moderate dementia and 25 young people with mental health needs. Young theatre makers will devise an original piece of theatre using the storytelling created between generations to celebrate life stories whilst raising awareness around dementia. Aspiring theatre makers aged 14 to 25 years living in Portsmouth, Southampton and Fareham can sign up for the project by contacting Theatre for Life.

The final performances will be shared with audiences on the 23rd of June at MAST Mayflower studios in Southampton and on the 26th and 27th of August at the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham.

Abigail Oakley explained: "This exciting project will see an innovative and expressive theatre piece be devised and by the end of the project we would have not only performed to the local community but many schools also which will continue to share our message.”

In year two of the project the final theatre and film performance will tour across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, engaging with community audiences in schools, colleges, community centres and care homes.

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