What a lovely day I had yesterday…..I was on home ground at an event in Beverley. It was the launch of Dementia Friendly East Riding.
The DAA (local Dementia Action Alliance) was disbanded here last year due to lack of funding – another case of post code lottery, sadly. However, out of it came the determination by a few committed individuals to continue with the cause of making the East Riding a good place to live for people with dementia. They created their own charity and today saw the start of good things happening at last in the East Riding.
I was due to say a few words with Emma Williams about the building of the award winning garden last year. Gemma, my daughter was also going to be there to chat about involvement in research – bonus!
I arrived – by local bus instead of train! – to find Gemma there already setting up her stand. She was there in her own right as part of the local research team. It was being held at the local cinema, who also put on monthly dementia friendly films.
The Forget me knot flower competition was up for the public vote – the wonderful Sandra had been busy sorting out these many wonderful entries from children.
So many wonderful people are Trustees of this charity and lots came up to say hello and remind me who they were.🙄 Lots of other organisations introduced themselves, Age UK, Local Carers, University for Children, and Mandy many more….
We made our way into the auditorium and Nigel – former chair of the DAA introduced the morning.
“Dementia friendly East Riding didn’t appear from nowhere’ said Nigel.
He then introduced Emma Williams who used to be the DAA co-ordinator and who did such a lot for me when I first moved into the area. She told us about her dad, who has a diagnosis of dementia and how she came to be involved in making the East Riding dementia friendly. She was there for 18months before funding was sadly cut. She did an amazing job while she was here and continues to be involved as a trustee of the new charity.
The original group were determined not to let all the fabulous work they’d done go to waste so they formed there own independent charity – Dementia Friendly East Riding.
The aim of the charity is to give people good quality information and make people aware of dementia.
Inmans primary school at Hedon called ‘Memory makers’ were up next .. The 2 year 6 girls were there on stage with their mum and interviewed by Simon. Memory Makers came about through a Hull police lifestyle initiative – where pupils were encouraged to do something valuable in the long summer holidays.
Simon asked why they’d chosen to support a dementia charity – both girls have a relative with dementia.
They made fiddle mats – they did so many other fund raising activities. They bought lots of games and pamper items for the residents in the Care homes.
The girls want to go into Brownies and Youth clubs to raise awareness.
They were magic and we had a lovely chat over lunch……
It was then me and Emma. I spoke about the importance of being involved with the local community and the garden itself.
Beverley library service spoke after us.They’re trying to equip their staff to be dementia aware. Over 50% of their staff have received in depth dementia aware training.
Nigel spoke of how dementia awareness isn’t just about memory, but in everyday life – buildings, banking systems, and to do this we need to know more about dementia.
Next up was my Gemma. She spoke about how she got involved in the field of dementia research and the importance of allaying fears and misconceptions. Her best line was around how it often involves visiting you in your own home and….
“Having a nice cuppa tea and a chat” – obviously my daughter:)😂
Finally Nigel spoke about the task of finding a patron. Someone who understand rural communities,. He then introduce the new patron, Howard Petch CBE. He was very funny.
He was ‘Aware that his senior moments, are coming with more frequency” – very funny intro of being stuck in his rocking and chair and not being able to get it started…….
His short speech was filled with wonderful analogies…..
There’s some really interesting projects in the pipeline. I hope t be involved in this years ardens at Burnby Hall and Castle Hill Hospital, but one which appeals to me most is the Photographic competition which will eventually tour the region – a single photo which depicts dementia. ……..more on that when it’s launched.
A wonderful lunch then followed in the local college restaurant – where the students practiced their skills of service and cooking – they all got a gold star from me…..lots of chat and reconnection made. I had to get a couple of selfies…..couldn’t resist.