For this latest post, we’re very pleased to welcome Jane Fletcher, founder of The Art of Giving Community Interest Company, as a guest on our blog.

Jane started a small not-for-profit called 'The Art of Giving Community Interest Company' in 2018 creating motivational words and images for community spaces. During Covid, this included sending out thousands of posters to the NHS for their staff spaces, resulting in being selected as a finalist in The Daily Telegraph Lockdown Awards. Jane also works with schools and charities and has just started to partner with Age UK in helping relatives and the elderly keep their memories alive through delivering talks and sharing ideas.


Jane and Her Father


"I’ve always been a fan of making our spaces at home to be very personal ones using memories and items that are special to you. This mindset came to life even more when helping to care for my elderly father, especially in his final few years with dementia.

I used photos, objects and words from different times of his life as talking points and prompts. It helped us celebrate his life, create conversations on visits, as well as a history lesson for us all.

Here are a few examples of what I did and to reflect what was of interest to him:

- A folder of photo memories with simple labels and divided into sections:

    - Norman’s Family

    - Norman’s Houses

    - Norman’s Cars

    - Norman’s Career

- A folder of postcards from his travels

- A picture made of his business cards including dates and locations

- Word Coasters using his favourite ‘Dad Jokes’, even one using an old road tax disc from his last car

My father died aged 94 in May 2022, these items are now treasured memories of his life for all the family to share.

In addition, I’ve since then made other memories such as:

- Personalised pictures, including two for his granddaughters called ‘Sweet Grandad’, using old sweet wrappers found in his jacket from when he used to pick them up from school and always have sweets for them

- I’ve also found people who can make items out of his clothing for example:

    - Teddy bear made from his favourite jacket

    - Cushions made from his old ties


Bear Made From Jane's Father's Clothing


My husband, who is thankfully very much alive, for Christmas got a cushion made from his old favourite ties which he doesn’t wear anymore. I recommend you get permission before you repurpose other people's items though!

I’ve taken all of these experiences and started running talks to help relatives to make their own memories of their loved ones, and also encourage us all to tell our stories. I’m in my early 60’s and have now started my own memory photo folder with examples of what’s important to me, also other information and key dates in my life. It’s interesting that I’ve found that it’s the simple things which resonate most with me such as a sample of my teenage bedroom wallpaper which I used to cover a school exercise book and a photo of my first flat’s kitchen, I wish I’d had a photo of the inside of my fridge too!

Over the last six years, I’ve given many talks to groups including The Women’s Institute and u3a, all about how to make the most of your ‘stuff’, namely personal possessions. Following the talks, I’ve received some lovely examples of what people have gone on to find, dust down, display and share. People have often been surprised at how interested the younger members of their families have been, wanting more details of an object or photo’s history. I encourage everyone to label what they uncover and tell its story.

If I’d known about the FROM YOU TO ME journals before, I’d definitely have asked Dad to complete one for me and my brother when he was still able to. My husband has started one for our son.

The ageing process can be full of challenges, but like FROM YOU TO ME, I’m focussing on spreading the word about telling people's stories including your own and celebrating these."

Happy Making Memories.

Jane x

If you'd like to be notified about new blog posts, please make sure that you’re signed up for our email updates via our homepage.