More support for creative dementia projects

More creative and imaginative grass roots dementia support is being helped by grants from Somerset County Council.

The authority is looking to invest more than half a million pounds to kick-start and extend projects and groups that run day-time activities for people with dementia and provide respite for their unpaid carers.

Two new projects – one based at an organic farm and the other a dementia café – are now coming on stream thanks to grant support.

The Magdalen Environmental Trust, based in Winsham, near Chard, is offering once-a-week sessions for adults with dementia and their carers on its organic farm with activities ranging from cookery and jam-making to polytunnel horticulture and meeting and feeding the animals.

The dementia café based at the Methodist Hall in Wincanton will provide activities, memory stimulation, socialisation, music therapy and respite for those with dementia and their carers. It will bring people together for two hours each week providing emotional support and reducing the isolation often felt by people with dementia, their carers and families.

The Council’s grant support scheme, which should eventually see £565,000 awarded, is supporting grass roots. They need to offer innovative, community-based ways of providing support that encourages people with dementia to socialise and take an active part in their communities.

More than £130,000 has been awarded so far, with projects either up and running or about to launch including schemes in Chard, Wincanton, Wellington, Taunton, Wells and across the county.

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, said: “The latest projects to benefit are imaginative and creative and will improve the lives of those with dementia and their devoted carers. This is the kind of support that we want to encourage and help flourish.”

Other scheme already supported by these grants include:

  • Reminiscence Learning, based in Wellington: a local charity working with people with dementia and their carers being funded to open two extra days a week for respite activity sessions with one-to-one and group sessions, a hot lunch and counselling for carers.
  • Dementia and Arts Programme run by the Creative Innovation Centre (CIC) in Taunton: being funded to run 10-week programmes throughout the year supporting people living with dementia and their carers through art classes and music.
  • The Active Social Minds project: a three-year project run by the Heads Up charity based in Wells. It will be running a range of memory workshops offering a range of different group activities including art, music, cooking and gentle exercise.
  • The Filo project: offering daytime care for small groups within a host’s home. Already well-established in Devon, Torbay and West Dorset, it is being funded for training to develop the project in Somerset.

Grants have also supported the:

  • Parks Active Living Group in Minehead which runs two lunch and social groups.
  • Feel Better with a Book project which supports people to read aloud together. Funding will help extend the project that’s already being delivered in libraries.
  • Lawrence Centre in Wells which offers activities, lunch and social get togethers for older people. The grant will help extend opening hours, develop a volunteer driving scheme, and refurbish the kitchen and furniture.

More projects are in the pipeline and any organisation or individual interested in providing innovative projects for people with dementia or memory loss are can apply for grants.

Anyone wishing to apply for a grant can find out more outline to check eligibility