Service Manager Update – April 2022

Hello everyone. My name is Ayesha and I’m the new Service Manager at Darnall Dementia Group.

Here are a few updates for our members, carers and friends. 

Changes to how the service is accessed and funded 

Darnall Dementia Group is pleased to announce that we recently succeeded in securing a new contract from Sheffield City Council. The contract runs from February 2022 for 5 years and is our primary source of funding. The new contract brings some changes and from now on any referrals for Sheffield residents need to come through the Sheffield City Council care and support assessment process.  Further details can be found here

The way we are funded has also changed under the new contract and our members pay the council directly for our service. How much members pay for the service depends on their financial circumstances as assessed by the council. More information can be found here

We are still accepting private referrals from non-Sheffield residents.

If you are thinking of making a referral/applying to our service and would like to know more about us – please contact us for an informal chat. 

Neighbourhood Dementia Partnership 

At the next meeting on Thursday 28th April 12.30pm, Wendy Mitchell, author of ‘Somebody I used to know’ and ‘What I wish people knew about Dementia’ will be joining to talk about her experiences of living with early onset Dementia. She will be sharing how her experiences have changed over time and will also talk about her engagement with health care professionals and how these relationships can be improved. Visitors are very welcome at this meeting – if you would like to come along please email and we will forward the Zoom log in details. 

Sheffield Dementia Advice Service 

The Sheffield Dementia Advice Service has now expanded its remit to provide advice to the public as well as professionals. More information can be found here at the Age UK website: 

You can contact the advice line by phone: (0114) 250 2875 or by email: 

Carers meetings 

Darnall Dementia Group currently hosts two Carer’s groups. A weekly online group facilitated by Bev and a monthly face-to-face carers group facilitated by Ayesha. These groups are open to DDG member carers past and present. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more. 

Dying matters week 

Next week (Monday 2 to Friday 6 May) is Dying Matters Awareness week. The aim is to help people to talk about dying and grief, and plan for the end of life. 

There are lots of useful resources on the Dying Matters website including this guide to “Talking about dying with people affected by dementia”  


How is DDG doing in the current Covid-19 situation?

The onset of the pandemic which hit the UK in February 2020 heralded unprecedented changes for many organisations especially those working with people face to face as we do at Darnall Dementia Group. Through the early, worrying days, when we knew that there was worse to come, and the figures for the spread of the disease indicated that we would inevitably be affected, to the day when we decided we would have to close our doors to keep everyone safe from the virus, we were concerned about the negative impact this would have on our attenders and their loved ones.

The risk of contracting the virus was high – that was clear. The risk to older people, many of whom were physically more vulnerable because of underlying health conditions was considerable. In addition, the death toll was rising fastest in that age group. We, and all the people concerned with protecting, supporting and caring for the attenders were worried.

To look at the picture as a whole, we had to take into account that there were also considerable risks to the attenders and their carers of being without the regular day care that they had come to rely on, enjoy and look forward to. This might mean a decline in mental health and well-being for both attender and carer, loss of time to themselves for both and the possible consequent loss of physical health and resilience.

The staff worked hard in the early days after the lock-down to establish methods of connecting with people which suited both attender and carer, and would provide some of the much needed relief and support that both rely on. Telephone calls, Face-time and video calls, Skype and Zoom – either one to one, or in groups, gradually have become the expected pattern of the week for many of the people we normally would expect to see in the Day Centre. For their carers, it has had the added advantage that they are able to be in touch with staff much more frequently than they would have been previously.

We are moving in to a new time of uncertainty, as the lock-down rules are eased. What does this mean for our attenders and their families and carers? What does the future hold for Day Care? Is there a possibility that normal service will be resumed – in the foreseeable future? By next year?  ever?

Strenuous efforts are being made to ensure the sustainability of the work of the Group. Whether that be in ways we have been discovering in the past three months, or new ones we haven’t yet tried.

We are hopeful that we will continue to provide a service to those people who need it and who have demonstrated over the years how much it is appreciated and how much it is needed.

Below is a picture from a Face -Time meeting between the Day Centre Coordinator and a couple she is supporting during the Covid-19 crisis.






Who are we?

Darnall Dementia Trust exists to provide exemplary, high quality person-centred care to people living with dementia and support to their carers.IMG_2698

  • Darnall Dementia Group is part of Darnall Dementia Trust and runs high quality day care on three days a week, for up to 10 people living with dementia on each day and support, advice and information to carers
  • Two Carers groups per month support people who are caring for someone living with dementia.
  • Education, training and information are offered to students, volunteers, other professionals and health workers.


  • To provide support for people living with dementia and their carers.
  • To provide day care on three days per week where people with dementia are treated with respect, dignity and compassion; where they are valued as individuals whose unique contribution to the creation of a community is enabled and facilitated in a person-centred way and where they can experience their unique identity and feel a sense of belonging in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.
  • To raise awareness of dementia and provide education, training, coaching, advice and support to people living with dementia, their carers, volunteers, students and others concerned with the care of people living with dementia.
  • To provide a model of care for people living with dementia and their carers, which demonstrates a way of working that can influence people who are in contact with the organisation and beyond.


The iPad and the Garden

Sheila Manclark writes:

We purchased an iPad with part of a grant from the Westfield Foundation. Colleagues at Sheffield University loaded it with dementia friendly games, and it has proved a real hit with some of our attenders.


Favourites are Wordsearch, Hangman, and a game fitting blocks together.

In April this year we started clearing out the small patch of garden under the back window. We have several people attending who are keen gardeners, and soon we were growing flowers, tomatoes and runner beans. Some of these came from seeds, others from donated plants. We have been able to have cut flowers on the table every day, tomatoes have been harvested and tasted, and we had a fine crop of beans. The garden has provided a fantastic opportunity for some to get their hands dirty and get stuck in, others have enjoyed going outside and looking at it, and everyone has been able to appreciate the fresh flowers, and comment on the produce we grew. We are about to start planting bulbs so that next spring we can enjoy crocuses, daffodils and tulips.

Cleethorpes trip 2017

Cleethorpes 2017 – Peter Bemba writes:
Our annual trip to Cleethorpes this year took place on 19th July.
It was a fabulous day, the weather was warm and sunny. The fish and chips at the Ocean Fish Restaurant was up to the usual excellent standard, thanks to all the staff for their efficient service.


An added bonus this year was that the tide was in so some brave souls were able to roll up their trousers



and go for a paddle!


When we got back on the coach, everyone was talking about the fun they had and the enjoyment they
got from spending time together as a group. We’re already looking forward to next year’s trip.IMG_2990

Visit from our M.P. Clive Betts

Clive Betts, our local MP, responded to an invitation to visit us at the Day Centre. He spoke to everyone present, and enjoyed chatting about Sheffield Wednesday football club to a number of fellow supporters. His support for our work is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to welcoming him at the centre again in the future.IMG_2805

A lovely letter

We received this letter from the nephew of one of our regular attenders. It sums up what we are about and very beautifully demonstrates how we aim to support people.
“Just a short note to thank you, Sheila and all the team for a wonderful day in Cleethorpes yesterday and particularly for ensuring sunshine! It really is hard to find words which truly describe the care and attention your team extended to everyone who came along. It really comes across that the team don’t just ‘care’ for your guests, they love them. A big, big thank you to everyone from three well loved guests.
“One interesting aspect came out of yesterday in respect of Margaret. She made many comments about Ronan (although naturally she cannot remember his name) about the fact that he had asked her to teach him how to make a scarf. On the way home we were talking about this and relating it to Margaret’s love of ‘crafts’, but what we realised was that it was the request, not the task or the object, that was important and we guess it made Margaret feel valued in a world where mostly she must feel dependent. I suppose we already knew this – the only way to get anything practical done in Margaret’s home is to involve her – but the example of Ronan’s request shone a bright light on your work and the impact it can have.”

Thank you to John, for taking the trouble to write to us. It is a letter we are very glad to have received as it says so much about what we aim to do.

Thanks so much!

img_8387The family of Sheila Gilbert, who attended the Day Centre at Darnall for many years, and who sadly died earlier this year, has donated a huge sum to the organisation. They raised £529 through donations in her memory. Sheila’s relatives ran a Family Fun Day in her memory in August, which would have made her chuckle – she often spoke about how much she enjoyed watching the children in her family playing. Other donations were also collected for the organisation in her memory. Sheila, who was a friend and companion to many at the centre, will be fondly remembered. Many thanks to her family for the marvellous donation.

Cleethorpes trip 2016

“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!…”
The first week in September, schools are back, and it is feeling like the end of summer. It must be time for the annual trip to Cleethorpes.






Gordon’s Coaches are big, 40 or so seats, and with room for wheelchairs, but we filled the coach this year. Old hands and new filled the seats, seasoned Cleethorpes visitors and some who’ve never experienced its delights before. Some of us have been on this annual trip for years, and for others it was their first time to meet the group.


We were lucky to have with us Katrina, whose last day as a volunteer this was, before she goes off to do her nurse training in York. Also, to have Loretta, who normally works with us now on Fridays, and Bev, who is our new Day Centre Manager. This was their first outing with us and with other volunteers and students alongside families and attenders we made a great party. And what a grand day we had.


The media had been promising warm weather and as the day dawned, it seemed the forecast was right. We had packed big piles of blankets and coats, some even brought umbrellas – we know what it can be like at Cleethorpes. And last year, well, it did nothing but pour down like cats and dogs. But the canny amongst us also brought sun cream, sunglasses and sunhats.

We set off once everyone was comfortably seated, and the miles soon disappeared, under dramatic but bright skies. Soon we could see the chimneys of the threatened oil refinery at Grimsby, and then the cranes of the docks. A lollipop was promised for the first to see the sea.
The gradual approach to the sea front, lined with the familiar shops and houses gave way to the central street with its abundantly bright baskets of flowers. We walked the short distance to the Ocean Fish Restaurant where we were expected, and greeted warmly.
We were immediately offered tea and coffee and brought bread and butter to accompany our fish and chips. We were soon enjoying our lunch, and most of us found room for the ice cream for dessert.



Out on the street again, we discovered that not only was it warm, but that it wasn’t raining! So we enjoyed the walk along quiet streets to the sea front. We walked along to the pier, watching little children on their holidays burying their Dads in sand, and chasing seagulls.



Once past the pier, we soon found seats, and some of us found room for more ice cream and even doughnuts fresh from the stall on the promenade.





We sat and chatted, enjoying the warmth, and even some bright sunshine, and watching the beach with families playing, and with ships passing some distance away on their way up and down the Humber estuary.
Ronan ventured on to the beach and collected some shells, which were admired and enjoyed.



Three o’clock and time to walk back to get on the coach for home. We chatted as we set off and then burst in to song: “Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!”