Pioneer Projects

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap is a 3 year Big Lottery Reaching Communities funded project which supports the design and delivery of creative engagement for older people resident in care homes in the district of Craven. Artists have worked with staff and residents to develop high quality creative care within each of the 8 settings that have been involved in Bridging the Gap during the life of the project.

A great deal of wonderful work had been achieved. Carine Brosse, a visual artist and a lead artist with Pioneer Project is seen below facilitating a Creative session with Activities Workers and Care Staff at Craven Museum and Gallery.

David Ashby, a ceramicist and painter and lead artist with Pioneer Projects led a series of sessions with residents of care homes developing the ‘White Forest’ and handmade tiles. The forest grew and grew and was a very popular activity in each care setting.

At the 2 year celebratory event – Fly a Kite- that was held at Craven Museum and Gallery and which 100 people attended, there was a celebration of song, movement and stories, paintings and sculptures, textile banners, cake and conversation.

The performers were the residents and staff from each setting.  We were asked by both audience and performers, ‘When is the next event?’  It was a joyful occasion. Family and friends and people from the local community came together with residents and staff from the care homes to celebrate together.

A short film was made of the event which you can view here .




Mel Brierley, a dance artist and somatic movement practitioner and Pioneer Projects artist is seen below dancing to music with care home residents. There was much laughter and concentration and fun.

During Care staff training sessions Mel inspires staff to explore their own sense of balance.



The creative opportunities include music, storytelling, performance, painting, sculpture, textiles, book making and conversation to name but a few.

Pioneer Projects works with care staff and activities workers in the care homes, volunteers and local organisations, to inspire others to build caring relationships with residents, to be creative together, to work with the imagination and together, to forge a stimulating environment for everyone.

Further, we will recruit, train and support volunteers, cultural venues and local organisations to contribute to this developing work.

We seek to build, in partnership with care staff, a creative culture which has creative practice as an integral part of all engagement. Ailsa Lewer, Lead Artist for Pioneer Projects is showing a resident one of the carefully crafted White Forest Trees prior to an exhibition.

Pioneer Projects has been designing and delivering creative sessions for people living with dementia throughout the district of Craven for the past 6 years. The creative delivery model has been tested and shared widely during this period through the weekly group sessions, training events and exhibitions.  The sessions are extremely popular and participants and carers consistently describe their pleasure at their involvement in these creative events.

We have worked with 8 care homes to date. Each year exhibitions and events are held for the local community, family and friends, to celebrate and showcase the creative work.


Pioneer Projects is working with care staff, activities workers, volunteers and local cultural and environmental organisations to inspire others to support participation and to develop creative and stimulating environments.



A final event was held to bring together from the Residential Care homes, staff, including management, funder’s, carers, volunteers and the Pioneer Projects team.

It was a celebration of the successes – some of the artwork was on display at the event, other successes were witnessed and reported back.

A vibrant discussion forum looked at the difficulties encountered and how some of them were overcome to enable focused engagement by the residents, resulting in a deepening of relationships between themselves and staff, increased confidence and skills by both residents and staff and an exchange of knowledge between the residential teams and Pioneer Projects.


Future plans were discussed by those present in terms of how best to realistically move forward in the light of all the learning achieved over the three years of the project.



Click here to watch a summary of Bridging The Gap by some of the Pioneer Projects team.

Click here to watch a short film of the Final Event.