Julia enjoys 100th birthday at Seymour Gardens

Skylarks performer with Seymour Garden Resident Julia Faherty

Skylarks performer with Seymour Garden Resident Julia Faherty

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Seymour Gardens resident Julia Faherty enjoyed a very special birthday recently in the company of Arts Care NI’s ‘Skylarks.’

Julia is the Nelson Drive home’s first ever centenarian. Skylarks is an interactive clowning-based programme that builds creative skills with people living with dementia. The Skylarks are skilled performers and engage people through a celebration of song, dance, clowning, fun and improvisation.

The Skylarks visit to Seymour Gardens Residential Home was part of the “Here and Now” Festival, produced by Arts Care NI and funded by the Public Health Agency. The “Here & Now” Festival is bringing arts activities to communities across Northern Ireland, focusing on work produced by and with people aged 60 and over. Between January and March 2014, over 320 events will engage with 3,600 people, providing visual art workshops, music events, digital photography and film making, in addition to Skylark visits.

Deirdre Walker, Head of Care and Accommodation with the Western Trust, on behalf of staff and residents of the home thanked the Arts Care NI Skylarks for coming and commented: “The work the Skylarks do does make a difference in reducing social isolation and anxiety in aged-care residents with dementia. For us, it is always about ensuring people lead a good life, and a healthy and active life despite the fact they may be dealing with dementia.”

Dr Jenny Elliott, CEO of Arts Care NI, said: “The Here & Now festival is all about the art of ageing well. We are working with the good health in everyone. Through fun and creative activities, we aim to enhance the quality of life through engagement in high quality arts. We want to reduce isolation and loneliness and to promote the voice of older people.”

For further information on the “Here & Now” Festival contact Maureen Murray on 028 95622 122 maureen@artscare.co.uk. Or log on to http://www.artscarephanihereandnow.com

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