July 2020: Beryl becomes an internet sensation with her virtual art club

This is Beryl, she is one of our residents here at Baycroft Flitwick and she has become an internet sensation, with more than 32,000 likes on a global Facebook group’s page.

beryl

Beryl’s daughter Wendy uploaded Beryl's paintings on the ‘Rock The Lockdown’ Facebook group, which has followers worldwide. They have received more than 32,000 likes, as well as over 5,000 comments and 2,000-plus shares.

Beryl has advanced dementia and during lockdown she has been participating in virtual art classes in order to interact with her daughter Wendy.

These art classes have been set up by our Activities Coordinator Lu, Beryl's daughter Wendy had been finding it difficult to engage with her Mum as Beryl is not able to easily communicate, so as Wendy had been doing her own painting during lockdown, it was suggested that they hold virtual art sessions together. The results of this have been incredible! Beryl and Wendy now have regular virtual art club sessions together via Skype where they both paint a picture within a set hour to a set theme.

Wendy said:  “What’s amazing is that Mum has never been artistic in her life. But more importantly, during the hour she is totally focused, engaged, absorbed. We talk about what we’re doing, the colours we’re choosing, how we’re applying the paint. She has a conversation with me and is clearly proud of her achievement. Through our art we can enjoy the moment and rock the lockdown together!”

Lu Lawrence, Baycroft Flitwick’s Activities Co-ordinator said:  “What an incredible journey Beryl has been on exploring her artistic side during lockdown! I am very proud to be able to facilitate this and watch her in her element.”

There are plans for Beryl and Wendy’s paintings to be shown together at an exhibition at the Westbury Arts Centre in Milton Keynes when the lockdown is over, with the aim of raising funds for dementia charities including Alzheimer’s Society.

Over the last two weeks we have been in a position to be able to offer garden reunion visits to families of our care home residents.

Wendy and Beryl have continued their art club sessions with Wendy painting from outside Beryl’s window.