University of Plymouth highlights an outstanding Dementia Friendly Project

We are a small charity making a big impact in South Devon. Situated along the banks of the river Yealm are the five rural Parishes of Wembury, Brixton, Yealmpton, Newton Ferrers & Noss Mayo and Holbeton. Our project began in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength over the years.

Our aim has always been to help and support people living with dementia and their families to remain active and involved in community life. We set up and run inclusive community groups such as reading, singing, walking, arts and crafts and exercise to name but a few. And here’s the difference…all members of the community are invited to attend alongside those living with dementia. We actively encourage existing community groups to engage with us and work in partnership to make all groups inclusive. The emphasis is always on fun and friendship which in turn helps to combat the effects of loneliness and isolation that so often occur in rural communities.

We support families individually to enable them to continue to live well and adapt to the changes that come their way. Remaining with families throughout their dementia journey has born great levels of trust and comfort.

Helping local communities to learn through our free and informal awareness raising sessions enables them to be confident and the person with dementia to feel valued and included in all aspects of community life.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in huge changes in the way that we work. All our groups are temporarily suspended, fundraising events postponed and individual visits on hold until it is safe to recommence.

But we continue to support all of our families with weekly phone calls. We have honed our listening skills to try and hear what we can’t see and gently probed to get beyond the ‘I’m fine’ response to being asked ‘how are you?’. Alongside our regular support we ask if the person has food, prescriptions or if they need anything. We encourage them to share worries and concerns and work out a plan of support. Amidst this time of great change, we have seen the most remarkable acts of kindness and selflessness in our villages. Our five Parish Councils, their emergency response teams, and volunteers have worked so incredibly hard to ensure that everyone is supported.  Working alongside them has been vital in making certain that no one is left behind or forgotten. Strong links have been forged and will be built upon as we enter a period of restoration and recovery.

To support us or to find out more information please contact us via our website or by calling 07450206312
Maxine Kennedy Project Coordinator


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