Dementia Awareness week in Wellington achieved many of the targets set by the charity, Reminiscence Learning (RL). In her review of the positive outcomes of RL’s activities last month, Director Fiona Mahoney reported to the Steering Committee this week that over £1,000 had been raised for the charity and its projects in the town and surrounding villages. More than 10,000 cards with the dementia awareness message had been circulated.
The week – part of a nation-wide event organised by the Alzheimer’s Society – was a step towards making Wellington a dementia-friendly community. The RL team’s activities included a ‘singing and cycling’ session outside Asda and dementia lectures at the charity’s new base in Tonedale’s historic Counting House. A ‘Music and Memories’ activity with pupils from Wellington School led by Head of Music Andrew Trewhella was particularly well-attended. Fiona Mahoney said, “We had 14 pupils playing different instruments and people referred by Wellington Medical Centre. It was a phenomenal experience for everyone.” It is hoped that this will become a monthly event.
The success of a ‘Taster Tea Dance’ indicated that this too could become a regular fixture.
The climax of the week – ‘Red and Yellow Day’ featuring Archie, the charity’s mascot, and with participants dressed in red and yellow – attracted more than 20 organisations – including local businesses, schools, clubs and care homes. Fiona said, “We were really pleased with the response and funds raised and hope to make this event even bigger and better next year!”
Plans for the future include talks in local villages and to groups such as the Women’s Institute and contact with local businesses to attract sponsorship for dementia awareness training and Archie projects. Fiona Mahoney is to meet representatives of Swallowfield and Fox Bothers and hopes that other Wellington companies will become involved in the initiative.
From July RL is to be the Rotary Club of Taunton Vale’s charity. The club will provide dementia-awareness volunteers who will be trained by RL and become members of the dementia-awareness team.
Archie is to feature in a drama performed by SPACE (Somerset Performing Arts Centre for Education) at 5 schools in Taunton Deane. The play can be seen at Wellington Junior School on Tuesday 23 June at 6.30pm.
Dementia awareness is currently featuring more prominently in the media. The Alzheimer’s Society states that there are more than 850,000 victims of the disease in its various forms in the UK. That figure is expected to rise rapidly over the coming years as the population ages.