A bid by Yeovil Hospital Charity to offer creative activities such as music, art and gardening has reached the final five in a national funding competition and they are now asking for public votes to help them improve life for older patients.

The bid, ‘Activities for older patients at Yeovil Hospital’, will go head-to-head over the next two weeks with four others in the Westcountry region as part of the National Lottery and ITV’s People’s Projects competition.

A film showing more about Yeovil’s bid will be shown tonight (Monday 29 February) on the 6pm ITV Westcountry news, as the two-week voting window opens.

The hospital’s project offers older patients an array of creative activities, such as live music, art, gardening and movement and dance. In conjunction with existing activities, these activities would bring interest and variety to older patients’ days while in hospital and help to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The project aims to transform people’s attitudes towards dementia, helping people relax and interact, with an emphasis on creativity. The project team will work with charities, community groups and care providers to bring people together from across the local community.

Some activities will also be accompanied by specialist input, such as an occupational therapist, showing patients how the activity can be tailored to provide maximum benefit, such as improving key skills like dexterity and coordination.

Voting runs from 29 February to 13 March, at the end of which the three projects with the most votes will win their chosen funding.

Helen Ryan, Director of Nursing at Yeovil Hospital, said of Yeovil’s bid: “These activities are incredibly important in improving the experience of older people in hospital. For many, being in hospital can be lonely, and activities such as gardening and art bring people together, forging relationships and encouraging interaction.

“Music is a powerful tool in helping to evoke memory in people with dementia, so as well as providing live music on the wards, we plan to give patients and their families iPods and headphones while they’re with us to create personal playlists which may help to stimulate forgotten memories.

“We can’t win this funding without the support of our local community and we’d like to ask as many people as possible to vote for us. Voting is free via the People’s Project website at www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk  – please help us make this project a reality and bring a little brightness into the day for our older patients.”

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