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Cumbria charity keeping people with dementia connected despite coronavirus lock down

A National Lottery-funded charity based in Arnside, Cumbria, has come up with a range of inventive and helpful ways to continue to support people with dementia across Cumbria, while also keeping them connected during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dignity in Dementia supports local people living with dementia and their family carers, helping them live as positive a life as possible, as well as them stay connected to their local community.

Since the nationwide quarantine, which has meant the face-to-face groups and activities people with dementia would usually attend have stopped, the organisation has created a supportive guide for carers to use at home. The new guide includes simple but effective exercises such as Japanese memory tests; low-maintenance house tasks such as sorting socks or polishing shoes; making Easter cards or bonnets; and even re-watching infamous sporting moments from yesteryear.

Additionally, the group has set up a Facebook page to encourage families of people living with dementia to upload photos of their loved ones taking part in activities, chores or other creative exercises to inspire others, helping them keep in contact with other people throughout the county who may also be stuck for ideas during these more restrictive times.

Dignity in Dementia received more than £190,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, in 2019 to extend their services to reach the entire county of Cumbria. They also typically deliver health and social care training, community singing sessions and family carer workshops.

Lesley Gill, Director, Dignity in Dementia, said: “Thanks to National Lottery Players, Dignity in Dementia is continuing to provide support and encouragement to people affected by dementia in Cumbria and further afield.

“We’re really aware that having to stop many of the community activities that people with dementia regularly attend will have a detrimental impact on their general wellbeing. That’s why we produced our free leaflet with suggestions of things they could do at home to stay busy and engaged.

“We’ve also set up a Facebook page called ‘Activities for Dignity in Dementia’ so that people can share inspiring photos of the things they get up to.”

Duncan Nicholson, Head of Funding for the North West at The National Lottery Community Fund, says: “In this time of crisis it’s heartening to see the way communities are coming together to provide each other with support. The charities and voluntary sector organisations we fund, including Dignity in Dementia, are playing a vital role in their community. We are incredibly grateful for their efforts and we are doing everything we can to make it easy for them to adapt to the difficult circumstances we are all finding ourselves in.

“National Lottery players can be proud that the money they have raised is helping to fund some of these efforts. Thanks to them we can bring forward plans to spend £300 million to support communities across the UK during the crisis.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £1.4 million a day on average to projects that help people and communities thrive. 90% of the grants it makes are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

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