The Living Memory project is managed by Norfolk Adult Education Service, and is based at Wensum Lodge, Norwich.
However, the work of the project reaches into many areas across the county of Norfolk.
Over one third of Norfolk 's population is aged 50 or over, hence the population of Norfolk is one of the oldest in Britain . The county is mainly rural, and local networks and public transport links are very weak in some areas.
The project works with older people, including very frail elderly people and people with dementia, using reminiscence work 1. and a variety of enjoyable daytime activities (art, craft, creative writing, music, gentle exercise, etc).
The Living Memory project built on previous work using reminiscence, which provided training for the careers of elderly people and people with learning difficulties in residential care.
The previous work also set up a series of themed memory boxes, which contain collections of items aimed to act on all senses. Themes include the war, washday, doctors, food and drink. The memory boxes were later used to assist the ACLF-funded work.
The project originally planned to set up two center's for older people's activities in the county together with outreach provision. However, these plans had to be adapted when ACLF funding was received later than originally planned and the venues were lost. Instead, by agreement with ACLF, the funds were used to set up reminiscence rooms for use with groups of frail elderly people and to extend the outreach work.
The project was also able to train more careers and volunteers in reminiscence and exercise who were then able to deliver outreach sessions in the community, in locations such as residential homes, sheltered housing, village halls, community centers, lunch clubs.
All outreach sessions, whether reminiscence, exercise, arts and crafts for elderly people and so on, ran for around eight weeks, once a week for one to two hours, depending on the activity.
Where tutors and volunteers have run reminiscence, exercise sessions and Arts and crafts for elderly people in residential homes, staff and managers have been convinced of the benefits, and many have undergone training with the project to enable them to carry on the work.
Many very elderly people have benefited greatly from this project, as evidenced on the case study visit. Reminiscence is also a good way to break the ice between individuals and groups, and can lead to interest in other activities.
As a result of the ACLF-funded project and other spin-oft work, over 2000 people have been involved in outreach sessions, in 97 different venues.
Altogether, 220 careers have been trained, and a bank of project volunteers and paid workers has been recruited. Partnerships have been created and strengthened across the county, for example, with Social Services, Age Concern, Health Authority and Museums.
As a result of the ACLF project's success, additional funds have been secured in the form of Prevention Grant money from Social Services, to enable some of the work to continue.