Throughout the last year, The MERL has had the opportunity to partner with Age UK Berkshire and Younger People With Dementia to deliver a storytelling project focused on capturing the life stories of Reading’s older population. Age UK research suggests 16% of the over 65s often feel invisible or ignored. Loneliness can happen at all stages of life and often begins when people lose significant relationships or the opportunities to engage in the community. The recent pandemic has shown us just how easily anyone can become isolated. Central to the project has been these photographs from the heritage collections of The MERL which were used to inspire participants to share their experiences. This exhibition is a celebration of their stories and we are grateful to everyone who took part.
The project is supported by Reading Borough Council’s Great Places Scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, and Historic England.