Felter helps elderly make new friends in Peebles

Reena Mathers who took part in Meet and Make Merry!
Reena Mathers who took part in Meet and Make Merry!

A local theatre and a charity worker came up with an inspired way to help residents in a new care home get to know one another.

Pauline Grigor, British Red Cross service coordinator at Dovecot Court, Peebles, asked the town’s Eastgate Theatre’s outreach manager Mandy Durkin to help find a way for new residents of the extra care housing development, which opened in March, to get to know each other.

A three-month felting project – Meet and Make Merry – led by Peeblesshire artist, Poppy Browne, followed and now the pensioners’ work, including birds, pictures, beads, banners and even self-portraits, will go on show at Dovecot and in the theatre later this year.

Participant Reena Mathers (91), pictured, said: “It gets boring sitting looking at the same four walls and it’s good to be busy. I have always been busy making something and we all need to keep interested in things.”

Mandy said: “This has been a super project. We have also produced a photo album and four large framed prints for the shared areas of Dovecot Court, so we hope that everyone feels they have contributed to turning their new premises into a home.”

Pauline said: “This has been a five-star project.

“Its value is huge and its success shows in both residents and support staff through an improvement in their confidence, communication, morale and determinedness to do something different!”

Pauline and Mandy also organised a theatre club, following requests, and residents enjoy visits to the Eastgate.

The Peebles arts venue now plans to develop further projects for older residents in the area.