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Leaf Creative Arts use the arts and music to tap into what is important to people living with dementia and their carers as well as isolated people or people living with mental health issues. They encourage people to celebrate their individuality and explore their creativity through relaxed and informal sessions. Leaf Creative Arts have a strong belief that art, music, dancing and theatre can benefit a person’s wellbeing.
Leaf comprises of a group of facilitators with varied areas of expertise in the arts:
Lois Murray is a professional singer who has combined performance work with music teaching for over thirty years.
Lois believes that music making is one of our greatest gifts and that it can and should be accessible to all. To that end, she has specialised in working with people who may need a little extra encouragement: children with complex needs, adults with anxiety, people with autism and the elderly. She has a passion for music making with elderly people, believing in the value of the musical memory even when other memory is fading. She has worked for over fifteen years with other professional musicians, taking performances into residential homes, Alzheimers’ units and Dementia Cafes, researching people’s stories and the part music has played in their lives. She has been part of a creative team developing fresh approaches and new projects working in this field, sharing the joy of live music with people who would not otherwise be able to access it.
Lois runs two community choirs: one for ‘Ladies who Love to Sing’ and the dementia-friendly ‘Moving Memories Choir’, which is to give its first performance in November 2019.
Rachel Duggan founded Leaf Creative Arts in 2015 with an aim to use the arts as a tool for wellbeing. She has a BA in Fine Art and a background as an art teacher working with people with learning difficulties. Fourteen years in teaching gave her valuable insight into managing education and training programmes and lead her into into managing health and wellbeing projects such as Creative Reminiscence and Moving Memories.
Carla Smith is a trained illustrator and printmaker with experience of leading workshops within the local community. Carla obtained a qualification in Dementia Studies from the University of Worcester and has worked and volunteered with The Alzheimer’s Society. She is also part of a collective of all-female djs called The Sugarfoot Stomp who play music from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Hannah Leach has a background in psychological therapies, having worked in private practice for 10 years, and with the Childrens’ Society for the last year, in addition to her work with Leaf. She holds a Masters in Psychology, and has undertaken training in various therapeutic approaches, including person-centred art therapy.
Brendan Callaghan has a degree in counselling psychology, twenty years experience working in advertising and marketing, and 8 years experience as a full time carer for a relative with dementia and is currently studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Counselling.
Shelley Atkinson has over 15 years experience of working in the music industry, specialising in event management, radio production and programming and curating festivals. Shelley became involved with Leaf Creative Arts after studying for a Masters in Music Industries, during which she became increasingly interested in the philosophy of music and its neurological, emotional and physical potential. A keen DJ for over 15 years, Shelley is also interested in oral histories and the relationship between music and memory.