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Social enterprise company Bright Shadow explain how their unique activities boxes are just one part of their mission to help those with dementia

Who we are

Bright Shadow is a creative social enterprise and our mission is to enable people with dementia and those affected by it to live well and to thrive. We have a vision of a brighter quality of care in which people with dementia’s todays and tomorrows are valued as much as their pasts. We believe that life with dementia should be as fun, vibrant and as full of opportunity as life without it.

It all started when…

…founding directors Rhiannon and Katy were placed in a residential home for people with dementia as part of their Masters degrees in Applied Performance.

Their first observation was that the most common activity in the care home was sitting silently around the outside edges of a large living room, drifting in and out of sleep whilst daytime TV blared out.

It became apparent that what was needed was an injection of life, laughter, conversation and fun. After a fruitless foray into the world of reminiscence, they realized that using performance practices in a participatory, person-centered way was a relatively undocumented and under-researched approach.

So, over 10 weeks they ran workshops in the dining room and began experimenting – with riotous results. Soon, the group of women they were working with were transformed from a passive group of people sat in the living room, to a dining room full of a collection of individuals who laughed, communicated, recited poetry, made jokes, had relationships with one another and had great imaginations.

Through using song, movement, story-making and sensory activities, Rhiannon and Katy found that something amazing happened. People were interacting on a human level, were building relationships, expressing themselves and enjoying the environment in which they lived. They were fully present in the moment.

It is this transformation from the living room state to the dining room state that fuels the organization. We want to see people with dementia enjoying the fun, the connections and the state of thriving that the dining room represents.

So, Bright Shadow was formed in 2009 with a vision to bring a brighter quality of care to people with dementia.

What we do

Our big passion is the direct delivery of our trade mark Zest workshops (as described above) in both care and community settings for people with dementia and their carers. Everything else we do flows from and is informed by this work. It is research in action!

A Bright Shadow workshopWe also deliver Out of the Box training to care professionals to help them use creativity to deliver meaningful activities. We deliver training to churches and arts and culture venues to help them be inclusive places for people with dementia to enjoy spending time in.

Finally, we create Bright Boxes. These are activity resource kits to help people with dementia to have fun with the people that love, support and care for them.

We know that finding things to do, talk about and connect over can sometimes get tricky, so we created Bright Boxes as a catalyst for spending meaningful time together.

Each Bright Box has its own theme and includes activities such as arts and crafts, music appreciation, sensory activities, competitions, exercise and movement videos, recipes and a list of themed ideas to bring some zestiness to the day-to-day.

The Bright Boxes come in two versions – for groups (such as in care homes) and for individual one-to-one care, and themes include Desert Island, Dance Hall, Arts & Culture and Great Outdoors.

Arts & Culture Bright Box

How can you get one?

Bright Shadow are really proud to be partnering with Unforgettable to get our Bright Boxes into the hands of the people who need them. We can’t reach every person living with dementia with our workshops, but we can with our Bright Boxes.