“I worked with “We engAGE” for some months while my mother was a resident in Abbeyfield Extracare and I continued to support the resident entertainments officer in similar situations after the project ended. Consequently I developed views as to the specific benefits that “We engAGE” brought and can bring to improving the lives of older people. The “We engAGE” staff showed great skill in finding iPad apps that would engage folk, bring to the fore buried memories and challenge them with new activities. However, it was their background in various areas of the arts, music and theatre that turned simple iPad sessions into multisensory experiences that really could stimulate even the most withdrawn of residents. The home quickly noticed the positive effects on some of their residents who otherwise found life very difficult. This was and  is a unique skill mix whose importance became very apparent to me when I later supported in-house staff alone – our results were never so dramatic, imaginative or satisfying for the residents.”

John, Family member of resident in Abbeyfield Extra care, Alnwick

"I have loved this project for our patients as it has been so successful at breaking down the fear of technology and so good at building peoples confidence they can use the technology, they can learn and be creative in ways they never imagined. It has been touching to witness the smiles, laughter, the immersion and the engrossment, the surprise, amazement and the growth that has taken place"

Andrea Grealy, Nottinghamshire Hospice

"If I hadn't seen the transformation this project brought about, in the attitude and demeanour of a withdrawn dementia sufferer with my own eyes, I would never have believed it, truly inspiring!"
Carole Bullock, Volunteer at Abbeyfield Ilkley

"Just wanted to say a huge thank you from me, Ro and Clive for getting mum involved in the i-pad project. I arrived and mum had hidden the framed picture because she was convinced it was worth so much. And was such a lovely gift. I assume it was of artworks from the project? And also she loves the little booklet including photos of Cleasby Rd, our old house where we grew up. -  I hear they've bought an iPad at Grove House now and mum was first to be in there, showing them all what to do. I think it's such a creative way of getting older people engaged with something that is deeply creative for them. I know mum was so excited by it, in a way that I rarely see her these days. It also felt very personal to her. Thank you to both of you. xx"

Rose, Participants family member from We engAGE at Abbeyfield, Ilkley

"Here at Abbeyfield Ilkley we have just finished a 3 month project with Claire Ford from We engAGE. Such a charismatic professional! Some very special moments of engagement working together with our ladies and gentlemen living with dementia. The results of the work culminated in a stunning exhibition and film here on 16th April we were so proud to exhibit what the results were, a happy day! I commend the project wholeheartedly to any care provider!"

Alice Wild, Day Centre Manager at Abbeyfield, Ilkley

"The We engAGE project has enabled us to introduce a completely new way of engaging with our residents, some of whom were not interested in taking part in organised activities. The strength of the project is in the delivery of opportunities to use a medium not otherwise considered and in creating an interest through the various apps available on a wide range of subjects, some educational, some artistic and other a means of releasing thoughts and capturing achievements. Altogether a well researched project delivered by competent artists"

Jim Thompson, Chair of Abbeyfield North Northumberland Extracare Society

"I came into the project as one of the artists commissioned by Claire for We engAGE with great enthusiasm for using the ipads as a creative tool for engagement in the arts. In my opinion, advancements in accessible and creative technology has opened a window of opportunity for many people who feel they are too old to learn or try something new. In my experience of the project, I was lucky enough to meet a varied and interesting group of residents at a local care home, some of whom were initially cautious about trying the ipad apps. By the end of the project, we had a piano score composed by a resident set to beautiful imagery created on an ipad app; excerpts from a life history partially unknown to the family, published in a poetry app and some beautiful playful abstract art created in a number of art applications!"
Lesley Anne Rose, Artist on We engAGE

"Claire and Bryan were excellent - their research and preparation was very thorough and their ability to work with the clinical staff on the ward was excellent. They responded well to all the demands of a clinical space - for example infection prevention and restrictions of a clinical environment. Working in an Acute Hospital setting is not easy - a completely different environment to the other locations for the project, our patients have both physical and cognitive issues and they often have quite late stages of dementia. The iPad project proved to be a great way to engage patients, Clare and Bryan adapted well to the patients needs and their findings will impact on our future work. We are looking forward to Clare's full report. - It was a great example of using digital technology with patients with Dementia and particularly in the demanding environment of hospital ward".

 Gill Greaves, Arts Development at York Teaching Hospitals   

"It has been an absolute pleasure working with We engAGE and seeing the positive effects it’s had on our patients.
Claire and Bryan were fantastic with the groups of patients that they worked with; gently instructing, leading and encouraging without patronising or confusing.
The fact that some of our patients who are living with later stages of dementia remembered Claire and Brian from week to week and were always so keen to talk about the work they’d done with the pair is possibly the highest praise of all though. "
Thank you again for the hard work you put into this project, I bumped into another of the nurses just this week who was singing your praises and asking when we'd be able to get you back!

Kathryn Hetherington, Arts Development at York Teaching Hospitals

Entering Ward 37 on the morning of the first session was somewhat daunting, as we had no real idea how the patients, and indeed staff, would react to our presence. However, our concerns proved to be unfounded, and as we developed the programme throughout the ten sessions it was clear we were being well received, and remembered - by both patients and staff - who clearly saw us working in a supportive, non-threatening manner, helping them with the many and varied acute patients on the Ward. It was evident that without the inexhaustible motivational enthusiasm of Claire Ford the programme could not have been delivered, and the outcome could have been completely different. It is also important to state that without the extremely positive support of Amanda Rosier (Ward Sister) that the outcome could also have been different. As it was, with two very enthusiastic individuals coming at the project from different backgrounds, the workshops were delivered without interruption or distress and helped to facilitate a positive well being whilst in the Ward. Regarding the actual sessions themselves, some were undertaken as single session activities, whilst those patients on the Ward for longer periods received multiple sessions. This was an interesting mix and added to the challenge of the sessions as one is not aware who is on the Ward until you arrive on that particular morning. Of those patients that engaged with us, and this was the majority, it was felt that all had stimulating activity with the iPad - and although there were some 'technology' issues on occasions, the patients were not hesitant or fearful of the iPad itself. The project demonstrated well that the use of an iPad as creative medium to facilitate engagement and stimulation to dementia patients works, what I also saw was that the enthusiasm, motivation and relationship development of the project leader is a fundamental contributor to the success of the project - perhaps we need an 'app' for that!

Bryan Palphreyman acted as Volunteer Support to Claire Ford in the We engAGE project at York NHS Hospital, and is Director of a Swiss based International Company.

We very much enjoyed the iPad introduction course last year. I was very nervous about doing it. My husband is a very experienced computer operator and had no problem picking up what to do but I was very unsure of myself. However, Father Christmas must have been very impressed with my progress as he brought me an iPad for Christmas. I am finding it very useful and am getting to use it more and more as time goes by.
I very much enjoyed working with the schoolchildren doing a project on the Second World War. 
Although I am too young to remember the war I do remember life as one born into a country that was rebuilding it's shattered cities and industries and still in the throws of rationing. It was good to be able to share what this meant for me and help them to understand how it affected our quality of life.

Felicity Dobson

What a wonderful course, my mother & I attended the i-pad engage course run by Carer’s Together at Redcar. My mother who had a small stroke which left her with some vascular dementia really looked forward to attending each time and was amazed by what she achieved, even better results than my efforts at times. Each session was on a different theme some resulted in lots of laughter at the results others with a “WOW”
As a course leader Claire is very hands on & very patient and explains things so clearly, the course progress is led by that of the group(non of whom had any knowledge of i-pads) not by a strict schedule for the day, great fun & informative sessions I thoroughly recommend this course.

Veronica Evans

My mother & I took part in the School Intergenerational Project after attending the iPad EngAGE course. It was so interesting for all concerned and with mum being in her nineties it was good for her to be able to trigger from her memories the answers to the children's questions about World War 2. We were all able to remember forgotten things which to children of today would seem very strange and to see their reaction was very rewarding. I'm sure the children benefited as well from talking to people who were there, as happened when we all got together at the school to watch the amalgamated filming. For children to appreciate how different things were I'm sure will make them appreciate how lucky they are now. This project was entertaining, informative, amusing and well thought out - all credit must go to Claire for her imaginative approach to the subject. Excellent, highly recommended.

V.Evans & K.Millward