Council launches programme of events to support Dementia Action Week
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to support Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week with a programme of special events across the borough.
Running from 16-22 May, Dementia Action Week is the charity’s biggest and longest running awareness campaign, encouraging people across the UK to ‘act on dementia’.
With diagnosis rates falling to a five-year low, the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘diagnosis’.
Events across the week will include:
Meeting of the Dementia Friendly Choir at The Music Yard, Larne – Wednesday 18 May 2022 2.00-3.00pm.
An ‘All Ages Intergenerational Event’ at The Music Yard, Larne on Wednesday 18 May 2022 supported by a grant from Linking Generations NI
A special online broadcast of ‘My Dancehall Days’ reminiscence video led by facilitator Charmaine McMeekin – Tuesday 17 May 2022
An online broadcast of one of six ‘Love to Move’ sessions led by Lesley McLaughlin – Thursday 19 May 2022
In addition, the borough’s Prom Friendship Group’s Dementia Friendly meetups will recommence on Tuesday 31 May at 6.00-7.30pm in the Prom Café, Larne.
Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna explained that Council’s support for Dementia Action Week is the culmination of a wide ranges of initiatives being undertaken to create Dementia Friendly Communities across Mid and East Antrim.
“Creating Dementia Friendly Communities is an action within Council’s community plan, ‘Putting People First’,” she said.
“We are working closely with a range of statutory partners and community organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society, Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Dementia NI, to roll out a vast range of initiatives, all aimed at making our borough as welcoming, inclusive and supportive as possible for those living with dementia and their families.”
Among these initiatives is Dementia Friends training, delivered in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society. The training encourages the entire community to ensure people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.
To date, 465 citizens (including 140 Council staff) have completed the training and are now ‘Dementia Friends’, with 108 local businesses across the borough represented at training and now proudly displaying the ‘Dementia Friendly’ sign in their premises.
Council has also led on the development of a special ‘Dementia Friendly Garden’ at Larne Leisure Centre – supported with funding from the Peace IV Programme and delivered in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Prom Friendship Group. This garden offers a safe and shared space for people with dementia and their carers to enjoy and feel at ease.
A local Dementia Support Group, meanwhile, is Vice Chaired by Alderman Mulvenna – who was recognised with the ‘United Against Dementia – Outstanding Contribution Award’ at Alzheimer’s Society Annual Awards in 2018.
“The Prom Friendship Group provides befriending, along with activities and complementary therapies, that offer a lifeline for people with Dementia and their families in the Larne area,” she said.
“The group promotes a sense of inclusion and reduces loneliness in the community and also allows carers to access advocacy.”
Also linked to the Prom Friendship Group is the borough’s Dementia Friendly Choir – the ‘This is Me Choir’ – which meets every Wednesday, 2.00-3.00pm in The Music Yard in Larne. Having met continually throughout the pandemic and adapted well to Zoom, the choir is gradually returning to face-to-face meetings, with a hybrid Zoom option for those who prefer.
Alderman Mulvenna continued:
“We recognise that the journey with dementia can be extremely daunting, upsetting and lonely for individuals affected and their families. Council is committed to doing absolutely everything we can to ensure those affected can continue taking part in their normal activities, maintain their independence for longer and feel supported by those around them in their local community.”
Citizens and businesses in Mid and East Antrim wishing to register for Dementia Friends training can do so by contacting Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org