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The National Library of Wales has launched new resources as part of the ‘Living Memory’ scheme to assist health and social organizations with reminiscence therapy.

The ‘Living Memory’ project is being led by the National Library of Wales' Volunteering Unit. During the year they have collaborated with the health and social care sectors in Wales to identify the potential of the Library’s graphical and audio visual collections, such as old photographs and films, in stimulating memories among older people and those living with dementia.

The following resources are now available free of charge to public libraries and those working in the care and mental health sectors:

  • A DVD of films; thematically structured including leisure, places, rural life, seaside and war;
  • Photographs on various themes, printed and presented in a folder;
  • USB memory stick of films and photographs;
  • An e-book that binds the above resources together.

The scheme was originally piloted by the Older People Mental Health wards of Hywel Dda Health Board and Ceredigon Crossroads. In addition, a national online consultation was undertaken to assess the wider interest in the project.

As a result, free physical and digital resources were produced for health and care organizations throughout Wales. Following a successful bid for funding from Film Hub Wales packs, including old films and photographs from the national collections, were created to be shared with voluntary and community groups, day centres and care homes.

Staff members from the Screen and Sound Archive and Visual Collections, and a number of the National Library’s volunteers; have been instrumental in bringing these packs together.

In addition, as part of the project 10 workshops were held across Wales to give guidance to staff members from the health sector on how to compile reminiscence collections using the National Library of Wales' digital resources, the People's Collection Wales website and the British Film Institute Player. 92 institutions from across Wales were represented at the workshops. Staff members from The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales were also present and outlined the People's Collection Wales Memory Archive project.

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at National Library of Wales, said:

“The launch of these resources, as part of the ‘Living Memories’ scheme, is a key part of our ambition as a National Library, that is to extend access to our collections in new and beneficial ways that impact the wellbeing of the community. The scheme will be rolled out across Wales, taking the Library's collections across the country, often to vulnerable or hard to reach people.”

Owen Llywelyn, Participation and Promotion Manager at National Library of Wales added:

“The ‘Living Memory’ resources show how the collections of the National Library of Wales can be used creatively for the benefit of the people of Wales, and contribute specifically in this case to mental health and well-being by stimulating memories amongst older people and those living with dementia. ”

Gwyneth Davies, Volunteer Coordinator at National Library of Wales said:

"As a unit we are delighted to see these resources launched. However, they are only a starting point as we now wish to build long-term relationships with their users in order to assess how effective the resources are in stimulating memories. We hope that the process of browsing these photographs and films will help people to share stories and bring smiles to many faces.”

Further information on how to claim free ‘Living Memory’ resources


Further Information

Elen Haf Jones   or
01970 632 534