‘Others Ways of Being’….. word is spreading.

Adrian Taking Part In The Workshop In The Library

Adrian taking part in the workshop in the library

After two community taster session days, ‘Other Ways of Being’ has commenced!  Adrian, Daniel and Liz from Geese Theatre Company delivered sessions in the Addaction Recovery Centre, The Hope Centre and within the iHUB room in St.Helens Central Library.

Geese Theatre Company are specialists in delivering creative projects with people who might have little previous experience of the arts and at providing people with opportunities to explore issues which are directly relevant to their lives.

The taster sessions were aimed at informing people about the project  – a  series of theatre workshops exploring participant’s experiences of alcohol which will  culminate in a creative presentation in December in the Library.

Those people who participated in the taster sessions commented on how fun and thought provoking the sessions were and many of them have already signed up to be part of the longer project.

The Project WIll Utilise Masks To Explore People's Emotions

The Project WIll Utilise Masks To Explore People’s Emotions

Does this sound like something you would like to get involved in? Don’t worry if you missed the taster session – either contact Gary Conley on 01744 677449 or email him on garyconley@sthelens.gov.uk for more information or come along to the first session on Wednesday 9th October, 10am – 12pm @ the iHub room in St.Helens Central  library.


Guerilla Knitters or Knit and Natterers ?

If you strolled down the South bank in London, you may have noticed pieces of brightly coloured knitting tied to various objects, or perhaps your bike lock was covered with wool. Well, welcome to guerilla knitting.

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This is graffiti, but with yarn. It’s nothing new – people have been doing it for years, all over the world. What’s the point, though?  well, It’s about making people smile and bringing art out of the galleries so everyone can appreciate it

Our aim is to get this group of ladies to embrace again the art of knitting, but with an artistic twist !!!

Bringing back memories of their younger days this newly formed group with differing disabilities have come together in workshops led by volunteers from the town centre knitting group.

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The initial workshop saw Ann and her group work with Shirley, Pat, Marion, Beryl and Jean. Shirley and Pat have dementia and have been looking to get back into knitting. Marion has nerve damage and is wheelchair bound, she had an interest in craft but was bored of doing scarves and tea cosies. Beryl and Jean are in their 70’s and have arthritis. They hope this project helps with the dexterity in their hands and the creativity of their brain.

The first workshop in Newton saw the group start at ‘base camp’ with the craft once again, with many a laugh for everyone along the way. ‘Its early days yet’, said Jean ‘ but if this workshop is anything to go by, then bring it on’.

Bringing Back The Wheeltappers

The Bring Back Clubland/Reminiscence Karaoke continues to flourish despite the hot summer and staff holidays restricting attendance of some clients. Gary, organises a venue, singers, entertainers and a karaoke operator. Bring Back Clubland is a project to bring back fond memories of times gone by to people suffering with Dementia. Proper singers, DJ and games of prize bingo aim to rekindle the era of the 50’s 60’s and 70’s when Clubland ruled. Staff and suffers both enjoy the music and the dancing that the afternoon brings. 

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The latest August session saw volunteer acts, arranged by Cultural Coordinator, Gary, sing and perform to a sell out crowd. Mel Cottington DJ and performer, opened the show with her renditions of ‘you don’t have to say you love me’, ‘if I could turn back time’ and  the classic sing along ‘its in his kiss’. Nita Ashcroft then brought the house down with renditions of ‘stupid cupid’, pal of my cradle days’ and brown eyed girl’. Bingo, eyes down, was the next order of the day, with a group from Eccleston Home winning both the line and full house !!! After the break Britaind Got Talent finalist Rick Ashcroft had them swooning with ‘and I love her so’ and ‘the mexican puppeteer’. To finish of a really quality day Gary gave his Rick Astley tribute of ‘never gonna give’.

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Loved again by the audience of dementia sufferers this is some of the feedback obtained on the day :

100% said they very happy with the information they receive regarding the sessions and the venue.

50% said they were very happy 45% happy 5% thought they had received the information to late.

97% thought the sessions were very relevant to them. 3% thought it was reasonably relevant.

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Intergenerational Dream Gets Dispayed At School Assembly


Newton Vulnerable Adults and St Peters Primary School year 5 got together at an end of term school assembly to show off the completed dream heads from the Intergenerational Dream project for 2013.

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Working with artist Chantelle Townley, this joint intergenerational project, gives both generations awareness of differing thoughts and dreams dependent upon age and health. Students and service users were taken to see Dream with the concept behind it, explained to by Gary, the Cultural Coordinator. Later, both parties had their own dreams and aspirations explored through discussion.   

Nine group Dream maquettes were then manufactured, funded by Helena Partnerships. The vulnerable adults were then taken to the school to work with the children in 5 workshops on artistically decorating the heads on each of the age groups hopes, thoughts and aspirations for the future.

dream intergenerational

Its been a fantastic project with both groups getting so much out of it. Beryl said: ‘I personally don’t like Dream Gary, but seeing these children’s faces light up when we first saw it and how they’ve threw themselves into decorating the models. Well it’s made me think differently about what art can do. I now what to go and see the Superlambananna ’ 

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Tom one of the students commented: ‘I want to be a Vicar. I want to put on the head that I want to be a Vicar. I’ve not told any body in my class that I want to be a Vicar. Beryls said to me always follow my dream. She wanted to be a nurse but her Dad said no. When she was 40 she re- trained and became one’

Masks Sisters Tickle The Ivories After 50 Years

The recent masks trip took in the very sunny city of Liverpool in July.

Due to holidays, the group wasn’t as large as normal but the participants were as enthusiastic as ever.

First on the agenda was a visit to the historic Bluecoats Building to see exhibitions ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Vide Installations’ by St Helens own Claire Weetman.

Walking through town to the pier head we stumbled across the ‘Tickle The Ivories’ installation where visitors are invited to sit down and play a community piano.


This is the time when Liverpool transforms into a live music venue as six pianos take centre stage for the world’s only official piano busking festival. Your supposed to book your performance, but when Gary heard Masks Sisters Dorothy and Christine say that they haven’t played the piano together for 50 years, well, it was just too big of an opportunity to miss.  The lid was lifted, the girls sat down and before you could say ‘chopsticks’ the girls had turned back the clock back bashing out tune after tune to an appreciated crowd of shoppers. An impromptu moment but one the sisters will never forget. Dorothy said ‘It took us both back to being young girls and happier times where TV’s, websites, facebook and twitter did not exist, the only recreation we both had was dads old piano. Who would have thought that being part of this ‘Masks’ group would have evoked that’.

Both Christine and Dorothy have started piano lessons again following this visit.


PSD Referral Group Mask Up!

The PSD referral group which consists of service users referred to the arts by care managers, and members from the Helena Partnerships sheltered accommodation scheme at Martin Avenue Newton, continue you to flourish in their quest to create new works of art.

The Christmas Masks


The group, mainly of ladies, with an age range of 52 to 80 have been working with Eastern European artist, presently residing in this country, Paola Passoul. Paola has introduced to the ladies many different art-forms raising the bar on their creativity and well being. Also, the group have integrated together to raise an understanding of living in a community group within a sheltered scheme. Not only has the level of art has been raised but also the misconceptions of life in a secure community setting has been allayed.

Proud Marion


Marion A told me : ‘Gary, meeting this group has been a lifeline for me, I feel useful again and the future now holds very little fear if I have to move into this accommodation if my condition worsens.’  She also added : ‘Paola has been fantastic and I’m now doing art at a level I never thought I’d attain. The 3D garden picture we did, including my flowers, has given me such a buzz’.

Joan Behind The Mask!