Dementia initiative seeking votes for £50,000 in funding

Judy Parkinson, project director of Dementia Drawing, with one of the images on display at Depot Cinema in Lewes. Photograph: Belinda Crawford
Judy Parkinson, project director of Dementia Drawing, with one of the images on display at Depot Cinema in Lewes. Photograph: Belinda Crawford

Sussex-based Dementia Drawing, which provides stimulation for those afflicted by memory loss, is seeking to secure £50,000 of National Lottery funding.

It has been shortlisted for the grant as part of the ITV/People’s Projects challenge.

The group is one of five organisations in the ITV Meridian East region on the shortlist – and three will win the £50k to continue and grow their work.

Dementia Drawing is seeking votes from the public in support of the initiative. Voting opens on Monday, April 16, at www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk and closes on Monday, April 30.

It holds life drawing classes for people with dementia and their carers, currently with sessions in just three care homes but seeking to become an established organisation that will meet the need for regular classes for more people, in more places.

Judy Parkinson, project director of Dementia Drawing, said: “Our classes involve a nearly naked model, an art teacher and a few sticks of charcoal plus some cartridge paper.

“There’s always a lovely atmosphere, and sometimes there’s laughter, sometimes song. People draw with a freedom that allows a special kind of vision and creativity.

“People living with dementia still have a relevant place in the world and we let them express themselves in new and surprising ways, and in the process try to break stigmas attached to dementia.

“Our classes are for carers too, giving them new things to talk about with those who may have lost the art of conversation.”

Julia Mortimer, who draws with her mum, said: “It should be heartbreaking, but this strange role reversal is joyous, it gives me an opportunity to share mother and daughter activity in a way we haven’t since my childhood.

“Dementia Drawing helps me see what she sees and it gives me the chance to enter her world for an hour.”

Ms Parkinson has installed some works by participants at Depot Cinema in Lewes to coincide with the launch there this week of dementia-friendly screenings.

A clip about Dementia Drawing will be aired during the 6pm ITV news broadcast on Monday, April 16.