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Corn Exchange Newbury to support innovative social care training programme

In collaboration with colleagues at West Berkshire Council, we are delighted to be partnering with Vamos Theatre to deliver a new training scheme that will be offered to all local Council employed carers and Day Centre staff.

Presented as part of our Ageing Creatively programme, funded by National Lottery Reaching Communities, which provides creative opportunity and support to those over 55 in West Berkshire, this new training programme will support care staff to use creative engagement within their everyday practice. This scheme will be a roll out of Vamos Theatre’s 2-hour Listening With Your Eyes workshop and aims to reach all employees in West Berkshire care settings across the next three years.

All current care home staff will be offered the training across a three-year period, including housekeepers and administrative staff, with ongoing sessions then being integrated into any future employees’ induction process. The training programme will begin in July and will then be embedded as part of the quarterly West Berkshire Social Care training scheme from November 2023 until February 2026.

Listening with your Eyes
sessions have been designed by Vamos Theatre to help develop skills of empathy, insight, listening and trust-building, all of which are central to those working in the arena of Health and Care. With a growing focus on personalised care across the Health and Social Care sectors, this collaborative and creative approach to training aims to develop sustainable ways for staff to provide person-centred care through new skills and techniques. The workshops are led in a supportive and playful way, and explore the many ways in which we make connections and help to more easily empathise with others.

Hannah Elder
, Engagement Manager at Corn Exchange Newbury says, We are so excited to be embedding this training scheme, in partnership with West Berkshire Council and Vamos Theatre, into the ongoing induction programme for local care staff. It is a real milestone for our Ageing Creatively programme and the Corn Exchange engagement work in this area. As a collective we are proud to be working together to support residents within our local care settings and that this scheme will support happy, healthy environments which allow for positive experiences in their everyday lives.

Sarah Salisbury, Service Manager to Care Homes and Shared Lives at West Berkshire Council
, adds, Working with the Corn Exchange Ageing Creatively team has provided us with a great opportunity to facilitate a really immersive training opportunity for social care staff, both from our care home teams and those working in the community. We strive to provide our staff with the highest quality training and have really seen the benefits of adding this creative, sensory approach to their learning. Many of our team have commented on the profound impact the experience has had on them, leading them to reflect on their practice and new ways they can adapt their approach. Ultimately, we really value the benefits we have seen this training can have for our residents and people in the community we support who are living with dementia.

Claire Morton, Executive Producer of Vamos Theatre
, comments, We're really excited to be working with West Berkshire Council and continuing our work with Corn Exchange Newbury as part of their Ageing Creatively programme. As part of Vamos Theatre's wider Arts in Health offer, we will work with carers across West Berkshire to help unlock the power of non-verbal techniques and communication, and their benefit in helping to make real and honest connections, including people living with dementia. We're thrilled to be able to deliver this work again, helping to develop practical skills to impact on those who need it most post-Covid.

Ageing Creatively has also seen poetry have a profound impact on residents at Falklands Grange Care Home in Newbury. The residents took part in an intergenerational project called Words Together with author and poet Becci Fearnley and enjoyed the project so much that the project expanded into a year-long Poetry Residency from autumn 2021 to the end of 2022. It has ignited a genuine passion for poetry and literacy in the residents as well as creating newfound friendships through connections discovered in conversations. Such was the impact of this that the care home has decided to take over the responsibility of the project to continue these workshops in the same format, employing the Corn Exchange’s practitioner on a freelance basis to continue indefinitely. The legacy of the Ageing Creatively programme continues in this way, as the team continue to work closely with settings throughout West Berkshire.

The Corn Exchange’s Ageing Creatively programme is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.