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Alternative curriculum students brighten up Beech Ward

18 May 2010

Talented young people who are studying the Education Department’s alternative curriculum and students at Greenfields, the Island’s secure unit for young people, are helping to brighten up the lives of people with dementia.

The students have given some of their artwork to Beech Ward, a unit at Clinique Pinel, run by Health and Social Services, where people with dementia go for assessment, treatment or respite care. The paintings are part of a project to make Beech Ward a brighter and more vibrant place to be. 2 large murals depicting spring and summer now adorn the walls opposite the entrance, while individual pieces have brought life and colour to corridors and other areas. The young people have also donated paintings which are on display in the hospital’s link corridor, near the outpatient wing.

Manager of the Jersey Alzheimer’s Association, Jo Cummins, explained "During a meeting with the Health Minister, we were talking about brightening up Beech Ward and Anne offered me the challenge."

Deputy Pryke was very impressed with the artwork she had seen when visiting Oakside, which offers an alternative curriculum to young people in Year 11 and Greenfields. Jo approached the head teacher to ask for paintings to be donated and was delighted with the immediate response.

"I called in just for a preliminary discussion about the project and I was given 3 paintings to take away with me there and then," she said. "What really touched me was that students from Greenfields immediately donated 2 lovely paintings and a young lady who is studying art gave me another that she had done for us in her spare time. They have so much talent. Since then I have been given at least a dozen more paintings and I am delighted to say that the project has now become part of their GCSE Art Exam," she added.

Now, photographic students on the alternative curriculum are involved in the project, and have also donated images of local scenes to be hung in Beech Ward.

Deputy Pryke said "Beech Ward is an important part of the care and respite service. Both patients and their relatives spend a lot of time there and it is wonderful that Jo and these young people have worked so hard to brighten up the ward. It makes it a much more pleasant environment and we hope that their relationship with the Jersey Alzheimer’s Association continues."

Jo said "I am overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of these students who have shown a remarkable empathy and compassion for a very vulnerable group of people in our community. On behalf of all those who will get such pleasure from their work, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you."

Head teacher, Kevin Mansell, said "The opportunity for our young people to become involved with such a worth while project is really appreciated. I do not see this as a one off project but something that will continue over the years allowing each new group of students to contribute something towards the community. The considerable effort and commitment shown by the students has had a powerful impact on the staff."


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