In February 2018 we delivered The Art of Letter Writing with patients of Ashgate Hospicecare Day Centre. Patients engaged in a series of workshops, including looking at historic letters brought along by an archivist from the Derbyshire Record Office to explore how the way we communicate has changed over the centuries. It’s a rare treat to be able to see and read these letters first hand, some even had accompanying photographs of the people who wrote them which really helped to understand the context within which they were written.

Those taking part were invited to bring along their own letters to share and discuss. Why do we keep certain letters, who are they from and what do they say? Some funny and poignant conversations took place, setting us up perfectly for the next session, writing a letter of their own to a family member, neighbour or friend. One lady decided she would write to the Queen and very quickly received a reply. She was both thrilled and proud!

The final session was calligraphy and illuminated lettering workshop and everyone enjoyed trying something different and learning a new skill.

As the project progressed we realised pretty quickly that in order to respond best to the needs of the patients we had to be flexible and not work in such a linear way. Participants really wanted to take part but because of their ill health, sometimes they were just not well enough to attend. We made it work for everyone by offering every element of engagement at every session, this way no one missed out on any aspect of the project.

The feedback from participants was positive and we were told that taking part was a happy distraction from their illness.

Art of letter writing, Junction Arts
Funded by the peoples health trust though money raised by health Calm, The health Lottery.