FREE reminiscence workshops!

We are pleased to announce two new RNE workshops…

Creating a Dementia-Friendly Museum
British Schools Museum, Hitchin
27th March, 10am – 3.30pm
Trainer: Maggie Woodhouse, Dementia Practitioner/Trainer, West Suffolk NHS Trust

This training session is primarily aimed at museum and cultural sector staff and volunteers.

About 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, and this figure is set to rise to well over 1 million by the year 2025.  What challenges do people with dementia and their carers experience? What can museums do to make their buildings, facilities and activities accessible to people with dementia, their families and carers? This practical session will help you understand more about dementia, and the small changes you can make on a limited budget. Dementia Friends training will be included in the session.
By the end of the session, participants will:


  • Understand the impact of dementia on families and the wider community
  • Be able to differentiate between the different types of dementia
  • Be confident in communication techniques with people affected by memory loss
  • Understand that small changes in our environment and in our attitudes can make a substantial difference to the person affected, their families and carers.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Please book online at:

Creative Reminiscence Practice

Chelmsford Museum

24th May, 9.30am – 1pm

Trainers: Helen Morse Palmer, Artist, and Sonja Zelic, Epping Forest District Council.

This training session is primarily aimed at care staff and activity organisers working in residential care.

This interactive training session will give participants the opportunity to learn about and try out inspirational creative reminiscence activities that can be carried out with older people and those living with dementia.

By the end of the session, participants will:

  • have been encouraged to recognise and value their own creative skills and hidden talents
  • have explored how to use these creative skills and talents to engage residents in interesting and fun ways
  • have explored the idea that the quality of the experience and making connections is as important as focusing on the end product

Refreshments will be provided. Please book online at:

We strongly advise you to book early for both workshops are places are limited.

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Dementia Friendly Norfolk Libraries

Caroline Varney-Bowers, Community Librarian at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, writes about dementia friendly activities and resources at Norfolk Libraries.

Norfolk Library and Information Service strives to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everybody.  The aim is for all library staff to become a Dementia Friend. The Library Service has a large collection of Reminiscence Resources including over 200 Reminiscence Kits for customers to borrow.  Customers can access Books on Prescription for Dementia a collection of books including self-help, fiction, biographies and practical ideas to offer support for people living with the condition and those caring for them.  We are also proud to offer Shared Reading sessions, where people can relax and enjoy having great literature read aloud to them and share their responses to what has been read.  The Millennium Library in Norfolk also hosts monthly Come Singing sessions and has plans to support customers to create their own Music Mirrors

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Free conference: Good Sensations: Multi-Sensory Approaches to Reminiscence, 18 May, Norwich

Our free biennial conference is taking place at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery on 18 May 2016 from 10am – 4pm. The conference includes presentations on how memories are being used and also prompted in a variety of ways, and includes fantastic speakers from the cultural and health sectors.

  • Discover how West Suffolk Hospital are turning blank walls into a 1950s – 80s memory corridor which will prompt conversations and memories and help people engage with their surroundings.
  • Hear about Museums in Cambridgeshire’s HLF-funded Memories in the Community project which is exploring the benefits of reminiscence for older people through a personalised life boxes.
  • Explore the importance of making a music profile for people with dementia so that music can be used to prompt recall.
  • Find out about an Epping Forest initiative that has included the creation of an innovative recipe book of activities for people with middle to late dementia.
  • Learn how Cinema City developed exciting cinema-themed reminiscence sessions through their HLF-funded Moving Memories project.
  • Discover how Norfolk Libraries have developed a dementia-friendly library service.

The full conference programme is below. Bookings for the conference are open via the SHARE website:

You can follow the conference on Twitter via the hashtag #rneconf

10am                  Arrival for tea and coffee

10.30-10.35      Welcome and Introduction by  Mark Curteis, Chair of RNE

10.35-11.35       Capturing the Sound of Memories, Heather Edwards, Music Mirrors

11.35-11.55       Memories in the Community: Stories of My Life, Emma Cook, Project Officer

11.55-12.15       Break

12.15-12.40      The West Suffolk Hospital Forget-me-not Memory Walk, Maggie Woodhouse, Dementia Trainer

12.40-1.00     In the Mix- Recipes for Creative Engagement; artists working with care staff, and residents, Sonja Zelic Epping Forest District Council and Helen Morse Palmer, Artist.

1.00-2.00        Lunch

2.00-2.45       Moving Memories-developing cinema themed reminiscence sessions, Guy Martin and Angela Bishop for Cinema City

2.45-3.10     Reminiscing within a Dementia Friendly Library Service, Caroline Varney-Bowers, Ben Miller and Alison Rainton, Norfolk Libraries

3.10-3.30      AGM for Reminiscence Network East

3.30-3.45      Network business, the RNE blog and contributions from the room

3.45pm         A chance to visit the museum

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Suffolk at Play in Stradbroke

Suffolk at Play brings together different generations living in a community to share their stories of childhood play. It is a Heritage Lottery Funded project managed by Suffolk Artlink. To see the animation and booklet from the latest round of the project, which worked with Year 7 & 8 students from Stradbroke High School and local older people, follow the link:

Hayley Field, Co-Director, Suffolk Artlink

Screenshot 2016-03-22 18.35.52

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Winter Wonderland

Moira Clare, Quality Services Lead of The Partnership in Care, tells us about a special winter-themed event for residents, staff and the local community.

The Partnership in Care provides care in six homes across Suffolk, two nursing and four residential.

The company organised a ‘Winter Wonderland’ in December across three days. Hundreds of residents, staff, families and representatives from the local community enjoyed the many attractions on offer, including an ice rink, Santa’s grotto, and live animals.

The annual event the second of its kind took place in the grounds of Risby Park and Risby Hall near Bury St Edmunds.

Events of this kind are beneficial for old and young alike.

You can see photos of the Winter Wonderland on the Bury Free Press website:

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New dementia toolkit for museums

Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery has developed a dementia toolkit for museums. The toolkit aims to support small and medium sized museums, in particular, to design dementia friendly programmes and includes advice on training staff to be dementia friendly, choosing objects and evaluation. It demonstrates the important role that museums can take in supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The toolkit is an outcome of a research project that the museum undertook with the Alzheimer’s Society in West Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. The project was a finalist in the Alzheimer’s Society 2015 Dementia Friendly Awards in the ‘Best dementia friendly partnership working’ category.

You can download the toolkit for free here:

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Reminiscence Suitcases

Quite a few years ago, Suffolk Museums linked up with the Dementia Society to provide smaller easier to access memory boxes. The idea was to use these boxes in the home as a resource to facilitate one to one reminiscing with people suffering from dementia. The small suitcases we use have proved to be very successful. The project has expanded to include various institutions, including care homes. To date we have currently have over 25 suitcases covering a wide variety of topics from transport; holidays; plus items covering various decades. Our latest suitcases are themed with items from the 1970’s.

You can find more information about the memory boxes here:

Jenny Firth, Heritage Assistant at Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds

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