Gwynt y Mor and Rhyl Flats Funders Celebration Event 8th May 2017 at Theatr Colwyn
Posted on 09 May 2017
We held a celebration event at Theatr Colwyn on Monday 8th May 2017 for the service users who took part in our recent Gwynt y Mor and Rhyl Flats Funded sessions.
The funding was for people who lived in the North Wales coastal areas running roughly between St Asaph and Llandudno. It was for beneficiaries and volunteers to work with them as Reminiscence Champions, either in groups or on a one to one basis within the person’s home.
Training for the volunteers had mainly taken place at the Book of You offices, and the full day included full training on how to use the Book of You app itself as well as how to use reminiscence therapy as part of a session (including finding resources on the internet) to create a rich and varied life story/reminiscence book. There was also a Dementia Friends Awareness session included for any people who had not already attended one. If they didn’t have a Disclosure and Barring Certificate, we applied for one for them.
Take up was steady. We found the people to take part in the the sessions through many different sources. Most, though not all, centred around people with dementia and their carers. We gave presentations at Alzheimer’s Groups (such as Rhyl Musical Moments), Memory Cafes and a cafe for Aged Veterans, Carers Groups, Parkway supported housing for older people (via Cartrefi Conwy), Conwy Wellbeing groups etc. We advertised on local radio (for volunteers and users) and also via our Facebook and Twitter pages, details of which were shared widely by ourselves and our supporters. We had a good response not only from the areas we were looking at but also outside these areas too, which shows there is a lot of interest in this type of activity.
The celebration event was well attended and included a small presentation with certificates of achievement for those who took part, and people were able to chat amongst themselves, as questions, and enjoy a small buffet. People were keen to inform both us and the funders about their experience using Book of You. One service user, Mr W, said that although his wife wasn’t really able to look at photographs any more herself, in creating her Book of You, they made good use of the voice record facility to recount memories etc, which his wife was able to listen to and enjoy. Both her sister and their extended family found it very enjoyable and they see that it will be something they can pass down to their children and grandchildren as a lasting legacy of Mrs W. Mr J explained that as well as enjoying putting down his memories into Book of You, he had been able to find and get in touch with a friend he hadn’t seen for many years, but who used to appear regularly on tv as an entertainer. As well as finding a video of him on TV on YouTube and uploading it into his book, he was able to find a way to contact him and is now in touch weekly with him. He felt he would not have been able to do with without the help of Book of You volunteer as he wouldn’t have known what to do.
Mrs T was able to find photographs of her old primary school which she hadn’t seen for many years. And Mr B was able to put a film into his book of the old Saltney Ferry which he used to catch to school as a child. He’d been telling the story of it for years, but the volunteer located an old ITV news film, which is now in his book.
There were so many stories which showed how the service users had been able to find so much more than they had imagined they would at the start of the sessions. Some admitted to being a little nervous at the beginning or unsure that it would be something they’d enjoy, but they soon found it interesting and fun. A lot of them admitted that the fact that the volunteers were able to do the technical work (at the beginning – many soon became a dab hand at uploading content themselves) meant that they could relax and concentrate on recounting their favourite memories and sharing favourite photos and songs.
We look forward to doing more work in this vein and are currently setting up sessions with people living with dementia and their carers in the Anglesey area, via some funding received from Horizon Nuclear Power. If you or anyone you know lives in the Anglesey area and would like to take part, either as a user or as a volunteer, please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01492 555381.
Further Blogs - Dementia Awareness Week 2017 »