Wymondham Dementia Support Group

March 25th, 2014

INTRODUCTION

In November 2008, following an initiative created at a Fairland United Reformed Church ‘away day’, a public meeting was called to consider the needs of those locally diagnosed with dementia and their carers. A committee was formed with representatives of local organisations and churches called The Wymondham Pabulum Café Committee.

The objective was to establish a Pabulum Café in Wymondham modelled upon ‘Alzheimer Cafés’ established in Holland by Dr Biere Miesen, a Clinical Psychologist.

WYMONDHAM PABULUM CAFÉ

Our first Café was held in March 2009 with six persons with dementia and their carers attending, following a period of fund raising with support from Norfolk Community Foundation, The Geoffrey Watling Charity and Wymondham Town Council. This was also linked to free use of Fairland Church Centre for the first six months of service.

The style of the Café provides a friendly meeting place where those with dementia, their carers, family members and other interested parties (e.g. health and social care professionals) can come together and receive support, guidance and information in a relaxed atmosphere whilst enjoying refreshments and light lunches. When necessary we provide advocacy for members who may be having difficulty regarding access to services and various benefits.

Activities include reminiscence sessions, various games, craft work, a poetry table and quizzes. We have a resources library and have 20 books on dementia available for our members. A carers group lasting 45 minutes is held at each Café in a separate lounge and during this time those with dementia are supported by trained volunteers. This time is highly valued by carers who provide support to each other and share experiences which help others devise coping strategies. Our carers regularly tell us how important this time is and explain that it has helped them overcome feelings of isolation and powerlessness.

We are an open access organisation and there is no complex referral system. People who learn of our service can just turn up or they may have been referred by a friend, GP or health or social care worker or noticed our local publicity. Since our beginning we have provided a service for 40 people with dementia and their carers and currently have a membership of 20 people with dementia and their carers.

Each Café is under the direction of our a team of  volunteers who are vetted, CRB checked and receive a three day dementia awareness training programme.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS

As numbers increased we have consulted members and carers about how we might improve our response to their needs. One consistent theme was to have an opportunity for singing and musical activities.

In February 2012, we began a further venture called ‘The Singing Café’ which is held on the third Friday of each month where members sing to live keyboard music and play a wide range of musical instruments.

From the 5th April, 2013 we opened our Café every Friday which will mean in a full year a further 17 opening days. There will be a Café’ every 1st, 2nd, 4th & 5th Friday, a ‘Singing Café’ on each 3rd Friday.

SUMMARY

In the five years since our formation we have learned and continue to learn much about the needs of  those with dementia and their carers. Our services have evolved and changed in relation to the observed and expressed needs of those who visit us.

In 2011 we became a registered Charity The Wymondham Dementia Support Group with the objective To promote the well being and quality of life of people with dementia and their carers in the County of Norfolk.

WHAT NEXT?

We are working with AgeUK Norfolk, Wymondham Town Council, Wymondham Library and other partners to enable Wymondham to become a Dementia Friendly Town in 2014 and in March, 2014 The Singing Café will making a record with a professional recording company and we will give a CD to all of our members.

In May 2014 we are hoping to start a monthly Cinema Club which will meet on Wednesday afternoons, showing films chosen by members .

Trevor Brown
Chair of Trustees
Wymondham Dementia Support Group
e-mail: [email protected]
tel. 01953 851796
web-site: wymondham-dementia-support-group.org

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