Northumberland National Park Authority Helping The Elderly To Get Creative Remotely

Northumberland National Park Authority has partnered with Gateshead Council’s Art Diamonds project to help people of retirement age get creative and connect with nature.

Art Diamonds is a programme of creative activities and events for people of retirement age led by Gateshead Council’s Libraries Arts & Heritage Service. The project has almost 200 members who take part in arts activities to help improve their wellbeing and reduce social isolation. 

Northumberland National Park worked with a group of 10 ‘Art Diamonds’ to give them a virtual tour of The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre including The Lost Words exhibition. Based on The Lost Words book of spells, the exhibition centres around the importance of words in nature through poems by writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris.

The Art Diamonds group – who due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been more isolated from relatives and loved ones – also took part in a competition which encouraged them to create their own poems and illustrations to capture their feelings evoked by the Lost Words.  

Sara Burn, Head of Engagement at Northumberland National Park Authority said: “We were delighted and honoured to be invited to bring the beauty of Northumberland National Park and The Lost Words to the Gateshead Art Diamonds programme. 

It’s our aim to provide people of all ages with the opportunity to access and engage with nature. Through Art Diamonds, people have the opportunity to engage with the Park in new and creative ways and the resulting artwork and poetry were truly breath-taking.”   

Councillor Angela Douglas, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport & Leisure, Gateshead Council said: “We are so grateful and thrilled that Northumberland National Park shared the beautiful Lost Words project with our Art Diamonds group.

The pandemic has meant we’ve been unable to hold our usual workshops and events but staying creative is more important than ever as people face long periods of time isolated from family and friends and aren’t able to go out and experience nature first-hand.

It was a delight to see the incredible artwork and poetry that came from this project and it demonstrates how important nature and creativity are for our wellbeing.” 

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