LETTER: Centre’s look back at 2016

Keyboard SUS-160615-124004001
Keyboard SUS-160615-124004001

Dementia Support at The Bridge - our 2016.

We say goodbye to 2016 with mixed emotions.

We shall not again enjoy the company of Chris, Ron, Jim and Olwen except in our memories. Three more of our number are now looked after in residential care.

We have welcomed many new participants, not to take their places, but to add themselves to our group.

We maintained our twice weekly sessions throughout the year. Our Friday singing sessions continue to be very popular and we are grateful to June, a Dementia Friend who now supports us. Mondays continued as a social and information session. For the first time we organised coach outings over the summer months that proved very popular. We continued our exploration of the coffee shops of the town and were well received everywhere, especially at Love Café who have become our venue of choice for special events.

We had many interesting speakers come to talk with us and passed lots of afternoons with our toy cupboard.

More widely, our Dementia Timeline continues to be popular. Clinicians involved in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School’s Time for Dementia programme were issued copies in their end of year conference packs.

Health professionals in the High Weald Lewes and Havens CCG area were issued with copies as part of their award winning Golden Ticket dementia support programme which is being rolled out after a successful pilot. This was funded by the Sussex Women of The Year committee.

A number of us participated in research programmes run by BSMS. Towards the end of the year we launched our You’re Not Alone programme of special sessions for people recently diagnosed with dementia.

We had a correspondence throughout the year with our own Hastings and Rother CCG on dementia care.

They are largely satisfied with their programmes, while we look to the standards we call for in our Dementia Timeline and the example set by HWLH CCG and see so much more that could be done to relieve pressure on GPs, hospitals and expensive residential care services.

We shared with HRCCG the results of a survey of our participants that showed 80 per cent anticipating a high risk of falls by their loved ones this winter. Many of those falls have already happened but so far not caused hospitalisations as last year.

We have been supported through the year by grants from the Carers Voices Group and The Lions Club. We have been supported in kind by our friends at Fast Print, St Leonards and Holywell Press of Oxford and, of course by our wonderful hosts at The Bridge. Ore Nails and Tan kindly supported our successful fundraising, as did Fleur de Lynn, Hastings and our friends and families including many in Scotland.

Hastings and StLeonards Dementia Action Alliance, HRCCG and Alzheimer’s Society supported our You’re Not Alone programme. We were supported by kind donations from bereaved participants, Day Lewis pharmacy, Mt Pleasant, and, as a fine end to a successful year, a surprise donation from staff and patients of James Ward, Conquest Hospital.

This latter donation touched us deeply and will influence our future direction. In 2017 we shall use that money to benefit the wider community either in funding new services or in supporting us to raise funds for others. Our basic activities will continue, Friday singing, Monday social, with more outings to come.

So, in conclusion, our thanks to all who supported us so generously in 2016 and our love and best wishes to you all for 2017.

Steve Nuttall

Park Way

Hastings

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