Care home built on former pit becomes creative hub in a year-long celebration of community’s mining heritage.
For residents and staff at Harton Grange Care Home, their South Tyneside care setting has become a hive of activity as they team up with pupils from Lord Blyton Primary to create their own pit banner.
Each week the gang take on new and different creative tasks as part of the year-long project The Harton Grange Gala.
Residents have been interviewed by students, passing on their experiences of living in a mining community. Together the 70-strong group have enjoyed talks from local poets and ex-miners, visits to museums and galleries and sessions in textiles, drawings and poetry.
The project, made possible after residents secured £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will culminate next year with a procession featuring the group’s own largescale pit banner.
Based in Bolden Lane, the care home was built on the site of the former Harton Colliery pit head which closed in 1969.
Equal Arts artist Betty Hill is supporting the group in their creative sessions. She said: It’s been wonderful to see how the group interact, sharing stories from the community and their ideas for the banner which they are continuing to work on with textile artists.”
The project aims to highlight the valuable role older people living in the area contribute to the community. It focuses on sharing ideas and experiences with schoolchildren living in the area.
Resident Mary Tomson, 83, said: “I enjoy seeing the children and working together, they remind me of my childhood. When we chatted about the pits and the yearly fairground on Harton Pit ground it brought back so many memories, my dad was a docker and worked at Tyne Dock. It has been lovely.”
Karen Tipper, the activities co-ordinator at Harton Grange Care Home, owned by Barchester Healthcare, said: “This project has just been outstanding. We have enjoyed working with the children from Lord Blyton school who we have engaged with for many years. The trips out to the museums have been great, and we’ll be heading to a recording session at The Word, along with weekly arts sessions. I’d definitely recommend this to other care homes.”
The project will run until February 2019 when the largescale banner will be unveiled at Harton Grange Care Home.