Photography students from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) are hoping to make a difference as part of a campaign to help reduce loneliness and social isolation in Middlesbrough.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough, a Big Lottery Funded programme, has set the students a live brief as part of their second year UAL Extended Diploma in Photography course.

The brief for the budding photographers is to produce a series of creative images based on the theme - Small Things Make the Biggest Difference – which will be used in a marketing campaign through PR, website promotion, posters and social media.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s goal is to find innovative ways to reduce loneliness and isolation for people who are aged over 50 and who live in Middlesbrough, as Rebecca Hughes, Information and Marketing Officer for Ageing Better Middlesbrough, explained: “To do this we help older people build confidence to try new things and become more involved in their communities. We work one-to-one with people who want more support as well as out in communities with groups and organisations.

“One thing that people keep telling us is that the small things can make the biggest difference for older people who are feeling lonely and socially isolated.

“After last year’s successful campaign, we are delighted to work with the college and the students again to create a series of images for a campaign that aims to get people in Middlesbrough thinking about the small things they could do to help reduce loneliness and social isolation for older people.”

The students met and talked extensively with Ageing Better Middlesbrough members, 93-year-old Janet Pyle, 76-year-old Francis Annett, 83-year-old Malcolm Broomfield and 63-year-old Geoff Kerr-Morgan as part of the research and to get inspired for the creative photography project. Alongside the photo shoot at CCAD’s studio, the group also arranged a bake sale and raised some money which was donated to the Salvation Army.

Easterside resident Francis Annett took part in the campaign and was very impressed with the students, who helped him produce his very own photogram artwork in the studio.

“During my visits I met Curtis and Rhys, where they showed me and Geoff how to produce photograms - a picture produced with photographic paper without a camera. I most enjoyed working with the young people, it is very refreshing to learn from them as they have new skills that I didn’t know anything about.

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“I was impressed as they were so nice and friendly, and shared their creative knowledge of photography. I’m interested in photography anyway but a photogram was something I had never done before. I think was great to try something different and credit to them in the way they looked after us and the kindness that they showed us.”

Curtis Farrier, 17, from Redcar, who partnered with fellow student Rhys David, said: “The concept of my poster is to show the older and younger generation can work together and learn from one another. I thought a day in the darkroom learning photograms would give Francis and Geoff a new experience and for me and Rhys to become the teachers.

“Meeting Francis, Geoff, Malcolm and Janet I have learned no matter how old we are, we shouldn’t stop being active and keep achieving our goals in life. Through this project I can see how wonderful and helpful Ageing Better Middlesbrough is and what they have to offer for older people around the area.

“I am also really enjoying the photography course because the teachers make the lessons interesting and every day is different.”

Jan Secker, Photography Lecturer at CCAD, said: “Every year we try to get involved with live assignments across the local community, to enable the students to have a real client experience. We feel it gives them extra insight into the industry and the soft skills required alongside their technical abilities. The students gain a greater respect and empathy for charitable causes, which they are helping in real terms in the work they produce. We are grateful to Rebecca Hughes at Ageing Better Middlesbrough for her continued support and look forward to working with her again in the future.”

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