The My Story project was a film project created by The Courtyard that aimed to capture the stories of older people across Herefordshire. The Courtyard worked in partnership with Hereford Age UK to enable those who attended local day centres to take part in the project. Toni Cook a drama practitioner and David Jones from Wind Up World Films facilitated the project and worked with the members of two day centres over a period of eight weeks.
The members worked with David and Toni to create short five-minute films about themselves, no theme was used, as we felt it was important for those taking part to have control over what the films would be about.
The films created provide a greater insight into the lives of those involved. One of the positive things that came out of the project was that the focus wasn’t actually all on reminiscence and allowed those taking part to embrace positive aspects of their identity today. The project was a fantastic platform for the members to have their say on issues important to them.
The films highlighted how important the services they received were to them, including the day care centre. In one film a gentleman spoke about how volunteering had given him a new lease of life. The project ended with a celebration event at The Courtyard Centre for The Arts, where tea, coffee and cake were served in the studio theatre whilst watching the films.
After the screening of the My Story films the Arts and Older People Project Coordinator went back to speak with the members about their experiences of the project, it was evident from their comments, enthusiasm, and the atmosphere at The Courtyard celebration event, that the benefits of this project were huge. Many who took part in the project said that they had a feeling of increased self-worth by having the opportunity to contribute to a project within their community. Many also commented on how they had tried something new for the first time, they had an increased self-esteem, and that they had been able to form new relationships with other group members.