Our Home, The Meadows

A Moments Of Joy project in collaboration with Third Bite Dance

Within the first few sessions at the Meadows, I knew it was a special place. I’ve worked in a few assisted living care schemes in and around Sheffield but never been anywhere where the residents have had as much love for where they live as they do at the Meadows. I decided to use this love for home as a theme for the project and so our idea to write a Love Letter to the Meadows emerged. All the residents were really on board and excited for what we would create and had the idea to send our letter to the Sheffield Star newspaper!

Inspired by dance artist Nisha Lall (other Moments of Joy lead artist) and a conversation Nisha had with her neighbour a few years ago we focused on the 3 L’s: Love. Listen. Laughter. And the Meadows residents decided we should add in a 4th L : Look. So with the questions: What do you love about the Meadows? What makes you laugh in the Meadows? and What do you see and hear in the Meadows? We wrote our poem. 

As well as leading the project at the Meadows as an independent artist, I also had the opportunity to invite my over 50’s dance company Third Bite Dance to collaborate on the project. Each week 3 – 4 members of the company attended the sessions and then we worked in our weekly company sessions devising a short choreography inspired by the words in the poem. Third Bite Dance then performed the piece back to the residents in our final session at the Meadows. The choreography is set to a sound score of the Meadows residents’ voices reading the Meadows love letter. This has been a brilliant experience for me to co-create with the Meadows residents and my Third Bite Dance company. 

“Spending time with the residents and staff at The Meadows has been so joyful. The residents are so engaged with life. They have such humour, wisdom and experience that they share. It’s been a privilege and delight to be part of this project”

– Alison, Third Bite Dance performer

It’s been such a joy to dance with the group every Friday morning and hear the stories and anecdotes of the wonderful people living in the Meadows. Some residents, at first a bit shy in the dance session, soon open up with how they feel living at the Meadows. All the residents support each other, the community they have is clear and as one resident’s contribution to the Meadows Love Letter says “The atmosphere at the Meadows speaks for itself. What I like – it’s our home, it’s what we make it”

Our Home, The Meadows‘ is a new piece created by residents at The Meadows, a care scheme within South Yorkshire Housing, in collaboration with Third Bite Dance. The piece brings together a poem written by the residents over several weeks of creative movement sessions led by dance artist Lucy Haighton, with movement and choreography performed by Third Bite Dance. ‘Our Home, The Meadows’ explores the 4 L’s: Love, Laughter, Listen and Look and celebrates the community of people living and working at the Meadows.

Our Home, The Meadows

What goes off in that meadows!

(you’d be surprised)

You couldn’t wish to meet better people, it’s actually better than outside!

They’ve always got a smile, a hello, a goodbye

You can’t say nowt against it

 

The atmosphere speaks for itself

The company in here at the Meadows is great

There’s no uppity people 

It’s a happy place

 

Coming back to groups – I’ve been lost without them

Friends

Everything

You can do what you want

If you want to be with people you can, if you want to be solo you can

 

I love all of it

The staff and the care watch, except when they get annoyed and I start playing up

They’re all so nice and friendly and the people are funny (most of them)

(that’s funny haha)

Nothing’s too much trouble

I love the genuine feeling of warmth from everybody that’s here

 

What makes us laugh in the meadows?

Everything

Your face in the mirror

(you can soon crack a mirror)

 

The staff are always pleasant, they’re never miserable

They tell me all their problems and mine go away

(they tell me about their love lives, boyfriends and husbands)

(I tell them about my love life and it’s a long tale)

 

The staff are always laughing and cracking jokes

Today she’s not brought her satin knickers

Marks and Spencer 

Red

 

I was sat by the door waiting for my friend and I was fast asleep when she arrived

I love sitting there and talking to people that pass by

When you come into the lounge and see the sun, the flowers and the birds that’s what I like. 

My patio doors that are open I see squirrels, birds and flowers, I love it, your nearer to God when you’re in your garden than anywhere

 

There’s all sorts here in the Meadows

Everyone helps me

It’s surprising what you see

Two hours we were stuck in those big chairs – but we were alright weren’t we

She was talking about her life story to us, her love life

 

What’s for dinner?

Chips and fish and mushy peas

Then at 2o clock we play bingo

And Margaret wins it all

“My favourite number is 21”

“Mines lucky 7”

When we play bingo there’s noisy crowds

You can’t hear a pin drop

 

You’ve got to be prepared like the scouts

First Aid

In case anybody….

In case anybody flakes out

 

June goes to the shops

She’s on her scooter

40 mile an hour in here!

She’s a mad woman

(“That’s a lie!”)

 

Eddies 100th birthday

It were very good

It made me proud

It was very personal

I enjoyed it immensely

The Queen representative came

A sheriff

Maybe a copper

It was a lovely lady in the picture

 

I had a big bottle of cider in here

And I had some pernod

(and don’t forget I used to work at Bass Charrington)

And the women were worse than the men, supping!

 

The atmosphere at the Meadows speaks for itself

Things are happening if you want to join in

All the activities, we have a good laugh

What I like – it’s our home, it’s what we make it

 

By Carol, Donna, June, Lou, Linda, Margaret, Steve, Eddie, Tony and Karla