St Vincents care home welcomes display from Creative Writing project with Dover Park primary school!

During the spring / summer this year residents at St Vincents care home and pupils from Dover Park primary school have been exchanging  thoughts and ideas resulting in some beautiful and moving writen pieces. The pupils and residents were invited to step through a magic door and embark on a magical journey.

Residents from St Vincents visited the school to work on creating stories with the children, and they also worked independently in Workshops run by Independent Arts at the home too. At the end of the project the children were invited to the home to share their work and some delicious magical fairy cakes too!

The work produced from these workshops can now be found displayed within St Vincents dinning room, pride of place.

Our thanks to the residents and staff of St Vincents care home for their hard work and hospitality in making us all so welcome.




Little Hayes celebrate residents artistic talents!

Over the last few months residents at Little Hayes care home have been enjoying Art sessions and collaborating together to create three beautiful watercolour paintings. Some of the residents have very limited dexterity so holding thin paint brushes and painting small detail can be challenging. Using chunky water colour pencils and specially designed water brush pens with better grip, water colour painting is easier and more accessible for all abilities.

We at Independent Arts and the care staff at Little Hayes were astonished at the level of detail in the work produced that we thought they must be seen and shown off! The home itself had a lot of wall space in one of the resident’s lounges which we thought would be the perfect location to exhibit the work permanently.


NEW Photography Workshops Available!

Independent Arts is now offering a brand new Photography Workshop for Care Homes and Sheltered Housing Schemes across the Isle of Wight.

We have now invested in some fantastic new camera equipment ranging from iPads to more advanced bridge cameras and everything in between. The workshops are specifically tailored to all abilities even those with limited dexterity, giving everyone a chance to try their hand at taking beautiful images.

Visit our official website for more details and to book any of our workshop sessions call 01983 822437.


Vecta House’s second installation!

Vecta House residential Care Home now have a total of 37 panels installed along corridors and communal living spaces. The residents experienced Independent Arts’s Magic Doors project for a second session and produced more wonderful quotes, poems, and story’s which now accompanied by imagery can be seen displayed with pride for all to see.

The staff and family members were thrilled to have more of the residents own words displayed within the home.

Claire Underwood – Daughter of one of the residents said:

“My Mum, lives at Vecta House and has Alzheimer’s disease. The Magic Doors project enabled her to express lovely memories of things that enrich her life. These were made into pictures for the walls of the home. To see from the muddle of words my Mum shining through was moving and reminded me of her joy of life.

Thank you.”

The Magic Doors project gives a creative voice to those living in residential care especially those living with conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.





The Magic Key has a beautiful new home

At the beginning of the year one of our very talented volunteers Jade Thomas created our very own magical key to use in our creative writing sessions.  Jade is a bead artist and spent many hours encrusting the surface of the key with an array of buttons, beads and tiny jewels (you can even find a few magical insect motifs if you look closely). The key is a great tool for residents who may struggle with communication or limited sight, meaning everyone can benefit and engage in the sessions, residents have even come up with entirely new and inventive descriptive terms for the things they discover on the surface of the key with one particular resident renaming a ladybird and butterfly a ‘tilsey’ and a ‘mowbey’.

The Key is very special and deserved a beautiful little home as it is carried and used in sessions across the Isle of Wight and we struck gold once again when one of our wonderful SingAbout Bank Practitioners Janice Thorn spent many hours hand crafting the most exquisite crushed velvet draw string bag to house our Magic Key.  The Vibrant contrasting colours will be a great inspiration for participants along with the various textures of rope, crushed velvet, and vibrant silk lining, complete with tassels!

Thank you to all Independent Arts volunteers and staff who always go that extra mile there’s no end to their talents!


Third Home to benefit from ‘Magic Doors’ project!

Vecta House has become the third home to join and complete our Creative Writing project ‘Magic Doors’.

Vecta House is a sister home to Orchard House and owned by Barchester Healthcare who provided funding for the Magic Doors project last year. Vecta House specialises in the care of those living with progressed dementia so to have the opportunity to run our Creative Writing project ‘Magic Doors’ at Vecta was a great privilege and provided some incredibly moving and sensitive material.

Paula McVeigh – Activities Coordinator said:

“We were all open minded about the project and did not know what to expect from it or how our little community at Vecta House would cope with it.

The project exceeded all our expectations in all ways such as the way the members of staff from Independent Arts communicated and took time with our residents and got the most from them and the end project was superb and many family members have expressed their thanks for the prints.

The level of engagement would vary but we had one lady who does not engage or stay that long at an activity session but stayed the whole of this one and had a very productive morning when listening to music and poetry. One gentleman liked the one to one interaction from one of the staff members of Independent Arts and for the rest of the afternoon he seemed very relaxed. 

Family members have loved the work. One granddaughter took pictures of the work her Nan had created to then go and show family members on the mainland. She said it brought a tear to her eye.  Staff members who did not attend the sessions found the work displayed very moving too and are now more appreciative and understanding about what our residents were thinking.

I would say the whole experience and the end product was 100% positive!”

The project was a great chance for the residents of Vecta to be creative with their thoughts and musings, and to respond to the magical music and poetry readings that form part of the sessions. The resulting panels filled with inspiring quotes, beautiful text and displayed with complimentary images are now on show around the home for residents, Staff and family to enjoy.  

We also received very exciting news earlier this month that work from the Magic Doors projects has been invited to tour the island’s libraries which will give us an important opportunity to give voice to this often unheard sector of society.


Orchard House Display!

We have now run a second successful creative writing project with residents, families and staff at Orchard House residential care home in Newport and once again the results have been really surprising and rewarding with staff and residents embracing the power of poetry.

Independent Arts Worshops Coordinator Kerry Tindall-Guignard said:

the rhythm and musicality of poetry like song can be really beneficial for older people living either with age related memory loss or dementia and I’m so pleased to see that Orchard House are keeping poetry at the heart of residents’ lives in the home.  The home have created beautiful poetry ‘pods’ in each unit and both residents and families have actually begun contributing their own work to the pods”

Through the series of workshops community writer Ann Emery and artist and poet Nick Cook invited participants to explore themes of journeys, magic and memories helping residents to produce a beautiful collection of poems and musings. The resulting work has now been celebrated in a collection of text and image panels which are on display for residents and families to enjoy at the home.

Maria – Activities coordinator at Orchard house said:

 “I have had the most amazing feedback from our residents, family members and staff. One resident has since started writing again after a very long time. She had become uninterested and felt that her writing wasn’t important but since the project she has been reborn and it has given back her interest in poetry.”

We had a wonderful day installing the work within the homes activity room. Anne Emery our Creative Writing Practitioner read out all the poems and we presented the residents with framed copies for them to have on their bedside tables. The day was full of fun and celebration, even the County Press joined us to take photos and we featured in the following Newspaper. Well done to all involved!

The Magic Doors creative writing project is currently delivered free to homes, and Independent Arts would like to thank project funder, Barchester Homes for their support for the project, and the staff and residents of Orchard House, Newport for their participation. For further information or to arrange to join the programme please call Independent Arts: 822437 or email

The Magic Door has a key!

One of our lovely volunteers have made us A Magic key for our Magic Doors Creative Writing project. The key helps to unlock stories and memories during the sessions in Care Homes on the Isle of Wight. The key itself has been beautifully crafted using a variety of beads and jewels. The surface of the key is extremely tactile and great for individuals who have limited conversational ability as they can still join in and benefit from The Magic Door sessions by holding and feeling the key that opens our Magic Door.

Independent Arts would like to send a huge thank you to Jade’s Beaded Bits and Bobs who created this beautiful key.