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Welsh dementia project returns to Inner Hebrides for innovative textile event



​Prof Cathy Treadaway (centre of back row) with ​Helen Watkins (Cardiff Met)Dr Wendy Moncur (Uni of Dundee),  Jane MacDonald (Taigh a’ Rudha Care Home) and Fiona Dix (Tiree Tapestry Group).

Front: Sue Pagan (Alzheimer’s Scotland) and Dr Keireine Canavan (Cardiff Met).

Cardiff Metropolitan University recently teamed up with Alzheimer’s Scotland and the University of Dundee to run a creative community event on the Scottish island of Tiree.

Prof Cathy Treadaway and Helen Watkins from the Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design (CARIAD) joined forces with Dr Keireine Canavan and Chris Dennis from the Cardiff School of Art and Design (CSAD) and Dr Wendy Moncur from University of Dundee to run a Hand i Pocket ‘funshop’ in collaboration with the Taigh a’ Rudha care home, Tiree.

Fresh on the heels of a similar funshop held at the Wales Millennium Centre, the team worked alongside the Tiree Tapestry Group to encourage the community to make a textile pocket for people with late stage dementia as part of the island’s Tech Wave creative technology event.

Funded by Argyll and Bute Health & Wellbeing Network fund and the Tiree Community Windfall Trust, the funshop saw participants designing and making a textile pocket using recycled fabrics, buttons and threads.

Pockets were brightly coloured and stitched with imagery and patterns ranging from cupcakes to local wildlife.

Most of the pockets created on the day have been donated to the Taigh a’ Rudha care home for use with the residents and others will be given to older members of the community living with dementia.

Hand i Pocket funshops were developed in 2014 by Professor Cathy Treadaway in collaboration with Dr Gail Kenning from University of Technology Sydney as part of the Helping Assist with New Devices for Seniors (HANDS)  international design research for dementia research project. This work was undertaken with the support of Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Australia, Age UK and Dementia Positive.

Speaking about the event, Professor Cathy Treadaway said: “Our links with the Tiree community were established when we took part in the Tiree Tech Wave earlier this year. It was at this event that we were fortunate to forge links with Jane MacDonald, a dementia care professional at Taigh a’ Rudha care home.

“The sensory textile pockets are of enormous benefit to those with late stage dementia and it was especially encouraging to see so many members of the local community take part in this funshop and sign up as ‘dementia friends’ with Alzheimer’s Scotland."