41 new Dementia Friends were created at a Dementia Awareness event hosted by Nantwich Elim Church on 8th July.
The session was delivered by Dementia Champion, Catherine Mills at the Olive Grove Conference Centre in Regents Park to Church members, their friends and family, local business and neighbours of the site.
Through a combination of interactive activities and informative anecdotes, Catherine led the group to explore their perceptions of dementia, the people living with the condition and the effect on those close to them.
As part of its commitment to providing a dementia friendly environment, Nantwich Elim Church has teamed up with a social enterprise, WellKin – Dance, Health and WellBeing, to create Circle of Friends – a social initiative offering therapeutic and pastoral support to people living with Dementia and their loved ones as part of the Open Space project.
The church’s Senior Pastor, Michelle Nunn, said:
“Our aim is to make Regents Park a dementia-friendly site. It was great to get together with other community members to learn about dementia and become dementia friends.
All too often those living with dementia find themselves isolated from family, friends and community.
It is our hope that we can make a difference for those people by providing a safe place to come, make new friends and share an afternoon each week.
We encourage anyone who also wants to make a difference to contact us and get involved”.
Circle of Friends comprises two elements, Moving Together where people with dementia and their loved ones can engage together in specially adapted circle dancing, and Connections Café where they can relax over refreshments, receive pastoral support and socialise with others who share their experience.
Moving Together will be led by Shirley Brocklehurst, a Dance Movement Psychotherapist, who specialises in adult mental health.
“There is a substantial body of research regarding the promotion of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through movement.
For older people and those with dementia the opportunity to engage in a group activity promotes re-attachment and sensory stimulation such as sound, rhythm and touch contribute to the sense of personhood.
It’s not about getting steps right or wrong, the intention is to enjoy the spirit of the dance and the experience that comes from moving rhythmically together.
For partners and relatives, this activity offers the opportunity to sustain the relationship, participating in the circle enables couples to feel equal partners again”.
Connections Café will be hosted by Assistant Pastor MC Chang and supported by volunteers who have personal or professional experience of supporting people with Dementia.
Circle of Friends will take place on Tuesday afternoons from September.
Anyone interested in attending should call 01270 626 749 for information.