Suffolk Artlink receives £37,000 to extent Forget-Me-Not-Visitors project at Ipswich Hospital

Suffolk Artlink�s Forget-Me-Not-Visitors Filomena Cristallino (Kitty Dandelion) and Chris Draude (Mi

Suffolk Artlink�s Forget-Me-Not-Visitors Filomena Cristallino (Kitty Dandelion) and Chris Draude (Millie Marigold) entertain a patient at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: WARREN PAGE - Credit: Archant

A charity has received a cash boost to continue its work bringing joy and entertainment to the bedsides of dementia patients in Ipswich Hospital.

Suffolk Artlink has been given £37,000 by The Rayne Foundation, Limbourne Trust and Suffolk Community Foundation’s Henry Smith County Grant to extend its Forget-Me-Not-Visitors project.

The scheme sees professional artists taking on the characters of 1950s cousins Millie Marigold and Kitty Dandelion and using music, poetry, reminiscence and sensory resources to ease fear and confusion among vulnerable older patients.

The money will enable Suffolk Artlink to deliver its project at Ipswich Hospital for two more years and extend its reach from two wards to four.

Project development manager Gabrielle Cox said: “The gentle approach and variety of creative skills used in this medical setting makes such a difference to the wellbeing of patients and their families.

“Projects like this are not possible without the generous support of funders and donors. Thanks to this new funding we will be able to reach more people, using the arts and creativity to provide comfort and happiness at what can often be a stressful time.”

Kerry Day, practice development nurse at Ipswich Hospital, added: “Older patients in hospitals can feel bored, lonely, anxious and isolated. The Forget-Me-Not-Visitors change that. They fulfil the need to have contact with the world - the human contact that makes us feel loved.”

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The Forget-Me-Not-Visitors also offer support to family members by providing them with a meaningful way of reconnecting with their unwell relatives.