An Isle of Wight charity has undertaken a project aiming to celebrate the ageing community and offer the older residents an exciting Island-wide programme of creative activities.

Independent Arts improves quality of life and reduces social isolation for people of all ages on the Island. Supported through funding from the Arts Council and Baring Foundation, their pilot project, Time & Tide, has allowed participants to take part in creative workshops ranging from photography and visual art to dance, theatre, music and creative writing, along with museum visits, pop-up exhibitions and touring collections.

As the Arts Council looks back and celebrates its 75 years as a public funding body, 2 of the project’s participants who’ve lived throughout that time have shared their experiences.

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Rose Haddon and Iris Ferris have explained what they enjoyed while taking part as well as some fantastic memories from their creative past – including how they got involved in the Island’s carnival culture – back then and now.

Rose, 77, and Iris, 72, took part in the Time & Tide project alongside some of their neighbours at retirement complex, Knights Courts, in Ventnor. The project saw the pair learn about pop-up photography from artist and photographer, Juliet Winslow, photographing each other as part of a final exhibition piece.

They tried their hand at pottery, tutored by local potter, Neil Tregear. They also created a large textile banner, supported by artist, Mandy Bangerter which Rose and Iris carried at Ventnor Carnival and won 2 first places

Iris said:

“The best part was when we took the banner round the carnival”

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Rose added:

“They judged us, and we won a great big cup. I never imagined there would be so many people!”

“It was absolutely fabulous… the whole experience was fantastic!

“Like I say, I’m not good with my hands. It’s great to do things you didn’t know you could do… I just didn’t believe I could do such things.”

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Rose reminisced about times she had been involved in Carnival in the past:

“The classic one was, we had a minibus that used to take the men and women out, and we turned that into a castle, and then me and my friend went on a mobility scooter, and built it as a horse, and we went all around the village in that.”

Time & Tide has paired local history and creativity and brought opportunities for older people on the island to engage with cultural pursuits. Find out more about the work of Independent Arts here.

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