Artist’s work brings familiar places into dementia ward

BRINGING the outside inside, providing interaction and talking points for service users, James Colmer’s artwork has transformed Roustel Ward into a mini Guernsey.

Having won the commission for the dementia ward’s artwork in March, Mr Colmer, with the input of service users and staff, was tasked with creating a work that encapsulates the island.

The full design was created digitally and printed on vinyl.

It features landmarks from the coast and countryside of the south-western parishes.

Tomatoes, the reservoir, the Imperial Hotel and loophole towers all feature in the piece, which runs the length of each corridor on the ward.

Health & Social Care’s arts, culture and health manager Lottie Barnes said: ‘We wanted to created art that allowed users to reminisce, that created nostalgia – often our service users can wonder and it is really positive to give them a reason to wonder.

‘The work is full of talking points that users can interact with each other over and can encourage memory, which is all very important in Roustel Ward.’

Ms Barnes said that there are numerous art projects across the facilities.

Staff and service users are able to identify areas that they think need developing and those areas are then earmarked.

Mr Colmer said: ‘It has been a really enjoyable experience and it is really good to know that hopefully the work you have produced is beneficial to people.

‘I’ve never done anything on this scale before, but I have done a smaller mural at the Oberlands and I would happily take on something like this again.

‘The whole process was very much an open discussion between the staff, service users and I to work out what artwork would be best for the ward. I started it about six months ago as a sketch concept with a small coloured block to show how the final thing could look.’

The artwork has now been on the wall for a month and the feedback has been very positive.

Roustel Ward manager Ellie Knowles said: ‘We have had some very positive feedback on the colours, how it is a calming environment for service users. It is really good for staff morale and it also opens up the corridor.

‘We wanted to ensure that we created a visually stimulating piece for our service users full of points of interest and catalysts for memory.’

As well as Mr Colmer’s murals, the ward staff have been creating a room of reminiscence.

The room is intended to jog the memories of service users with a creative and interactive environment that harks back to a bygone era that many senior islanders grew up in.

Mr Colmer and Roustel Ward manager Ellie Knowles in the reminiscence room, complete with floral wallpaper and black and white TV, which harks back to 1953. (25463302)

With three ducks on the wall, a black and white television, armchair covers and floral wallpaper, the room of reminiscence takes them back in time to 1953.

‘It has been an amazing effort between the mural and the room of reminiscence,’ said Ms Barnes.

‘We began the room first and through donations, staff fundraising and the Friends of the PEH we have been able to create this fantastic room where service users can come and relax and reminisce, but also it is somewhere quiet, out of the hospital environment, that service users can use to meet with their family.’

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