Yesterday I was at Bradford Uni School of dementia for a lunch meeting with Professor Shirley Congdon, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University. The department is undertaking an Academic Portfolio Review and had asked a variety of people to attend in order to get our opinions.
Although the meeting wasn’t until 12.30, it was still an early start due to train timings etcetc, but luckily it was a nice day to meander around…..although it’s in Yorkshire, it’s still a taxi ride and 3 trains, so giving myself plenty of time is key to a stress free journey…..
It was a lovely autumn morning and the Humber bridge looked fabulous in the morning sunlight
The lovely Professor Murna Downs had agreed to meet me at the university. The surprise of the day was meeting the equally lovely Barbara Woodward Carlton on the train! We ambled up to the University with lots of time to spare and had a cuppa tea in the student café and caught up with anything and everything.
Murna met us in reception as promised, along with Kevin, who is living with dementia and his wife. So they made up the 5 of us ready to be interviewed by the review panel.
The panel was running late so Professor Murna earned some extra brownie points and took us up for another cuppa tea.. We chatted about everything that was going on. Me and Kevin knew we’d met somewhere before but couldn’t remember where 😂 but it didn’t worry either of us, we just found it funny….
Once they were ready for us, someone came to get us and escorted us to the right room where lunch was ready and waiting.
Shirley asked us how we felt being involved and what value we have for the university and how the university learns from us.
We spoke of all the things we’re involved with at the uni – the Alzheimers society research network, carers reference panels, steering groups, phd students, video making for NHS staff and all the other stuff we could think of. We do so much for them and it feels like a partnership.
The phd doctoral centre is a wonderful thing for me to be involved with as I love working with students. What could be more rewarding than helping the next generation to understand and accept dementia – magic.
Me and Kevin particularly, said how ‘comfortable’ they make us feel at Bradford. We wouldn’t come time and time again if we didn’t feel safe, understood and listened to.
We all contribute an awful lot to the education system but for me, it makes me feel valued. It’s a win win situation. We extolled the virtue of all staff as they do things right at Bradford. One point I made, is that they’re the only people I know who pay expenses on the day in cash. We never have to wait – in fact, Murna sorted them out for me and Barbara the minute she met us. It means so much to me, especially as I don’t have an income as such – so many others should follow suit……..I recently had to wait 6 months for a payment from Hull University, which isn’t acceptable and will probably mean I think twice before doing anything for them again…….
Once we’d finished, who should come in the room after us but all the people we’d just been singing the praises of – as it was their turn next to be questioned……..all the researchers walked in, so we happily waved and smiled and hugged, which just showed how we all get on – there’s no ‘them and us’………
I hope the review goes well and that we did our bit ……………
Because it overran, I missed the train I was supposed to catch so had time to watch the world go by in Leeds. It was lovely to have Barbara’s company on my journey back to Leeds before we went our separate ways……
Luckily Sarah was able to pick me up from Brough, which saved me another hour + of travelling and a soaking………..and it was her birthday……..🎂🎉💐😘….you wouldn’t believe how many alarms I had set this morning so I wouldn’t forget…….😊