Dementia friendly Longtown   

7th January 2020

Longtown Memorial Hall Community Centre has played host to several pilot dementia projects over recent years and identified an overwhelming demand to provide activities and support for older people in the area.

‘Dementia Friendly Longtown’, supported by a grant of £3,420 from The Dulverton Trust and Kipling Fund for Older People, built on the success of these pilot projects, providing opportunities to reduce social isolation, improving health and in doing so staving off ill health diagnoses common in older age.

Nigel Williamson, Manager said: “This project educated the community in how to be ‘dementia friendly’. We delivered training, ensuring the centre is equipped to be dementia friendly itself and identified those who may be socially isolated, by running a lunch club to combat this.”

“To become more dementia friendly as a venue, colourful, illustrated dementia friendly signage was installed throughout. The club became a member of the Carlisle Dementia Action Alliance, and staff undertook Dementia Friendly training and worked in partnership with the Brampton and Longtown Rotary monthly Longtown Dementia Hub.”

The Lunch Club at the hall attracts 20 people each week and provides an important social platform bringing together a diverse set of people, personalities, and challenges. It has strengthened community links and developed community involvement by addressing isolation and loneliness. A wide range of speakers, trips and visits has supported the social experience too. The members have grown in confidence, taking on and embracing various roles and responsibilities.

One older lady in her eighties attends weekly. Aided by a zimmer frame, she has seen her confidence grow through the social interaction of the group. She now participates fully and organises the weekly raffle.

Nigel said: “We have several members dealing with ill-health, isolation and loneliness. Most are retired and on low incomes or on some form of benefit support. As a group, the weekly get together provides friendship, conversation, and the opportunity to catch up. The programme of speakers provides information, guidance and support as well as topics of interest. All this has combined to improve the lives of the group in a very positive way.”