Our Working Lives

Staff at Manchester Royal Infirmary’s older age mental health services (daycare) approached Start as they were keen to use innovative methods to spark old memories of working life amongst their patients. Reminiscence and creative activity can both be valuable treatment tools for people with confusion.

The staff asked Start artist Wendy Teall to work with their patients on a mural that depicted real memories and real workplaces connected to York House’s patients.

Wendy and York House staff conducted guided reminiscence sessions at the unit, followed by designing and painting workshops where Start Painting Tutor Jude Atkin helped to steer the more specialist work.

Says Wendy: ‘The patients loved talking about where they had worked, and some of the stories were very funny, moving, or just plain curious. We tried to capture them all in the mural. There was one story about someone who used to sew navy knickers for a living, only navy, nothing else, and then there was a woman who heat-sealed rubber dinghy seams together during the war – she must have saved a few lives. She was very proud of what she had done.’

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