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!”


Welcome to Bev!

IMG_2052We are delighted to have welcomed Beverly Graham to be our Day Centre Co-ordinator.
An experienced worker in the field of dementia care, Bev has worked with us before, standing in in Lynsey’s absence some time ago. Bev has more recently worked for the Alzheimer’s Society, and so comes with a wealth of knowledge about services for people with dementia and their carers. Above all, Bev possesses a natural and genuine enjoyment in working with people with dementia and demonstrates empathy and compassion, as well as clear thinking in all her work, alongside warmth, charm and a sense of humour!
We wish her luck in the post and hope she will enjoy working with us.

Update about Loretta

Loretta joined us for a short time, until a permanent replacement for Leeanne was found.
Loretta settled in well and has worked really well with us, and has proved to be an invaluable addition to the staff group. We are pleased that Loretta has been able to work on an occasional basis over the last few months, as she has provided cover for absences. Many thanks to Loretta.

Touch Screen Technology Event – research and filming

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We recently enjoyed a day working with touch screens, exploring what is available, such as playing a variety of games, finding out facts, reminiscing with photographs and simply getting used to the technology. Some feedback was gathered from participants during and after the session:

On the Chime bars activity:   “I’m learning!”

“You’re frightened of touching it at first in case you break it.  When you touch it and it moves you get a bit nervous.  When you get used to it it’s OK.  I’ve joined in sometimes.”

“A good shot! Lovely save. Great shot!”  He was so engaged and animated – shuffled forward in his chair. “Let’s dance.” (Winning points.)

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One gentleman was asked if he was tired.  “No I’m not tired”.  He leant forward to try something else.  “You see everybody’s ideas.  It’s a change and highlighted my day.  I like it.”

Reflecting on his life – “We can’t grumble.  We don’t have to be important all the time.  Life is what you make it.”

“It’s been different, good.  I’ve enjoyed it.”

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“I can turn the sound up and down.”  This lady could also switch packages on and off.  She was really interested in all the activities.

“If anyone asks me, I’ve enjoyed it.”

“Who’s won?”

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“This is very good.  I’ve enjoyed these songs.”

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Everyone was interested the whole time, for about one and a half hours. Some were a bit reticent about touching the screen but watched and conversed.

The photograph package prompted lots of reminiscing about holidays, dancing, football, Girl Guides, the Royal family and favourite singers.  There was also much singing.  A rousing chorus of ‘O what a beautiful morning’ ended in harmony.

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Training event for volunteers and staff – visit to see the film: Still Alice

Staff and Volunteers met with Trustees to watch the recently released film, Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore as the Professor of English who is diagnosed with early onset dementia.

This moving film portrays a woman coping with the first signs of dementia, and the dawning knowledge of what her diagnosis means. It explores sensitively her family’s various reactions to the increasing incidences of exposure of her failing mental powers.

Julianne Moore has said that she spent several months alongside people living with dementia, learning what was happening for them, and how they responded. The result is a convincing portrayal of a heartbreaking situation, which many people face day to day, and which we at Darnall Dementia Trust aim to understand and respond to.

Following the film, staff and volunteers discussed how they had felt seeing the film. Some people there had experience in their own families of a relative living with dementia. An enlightening and moving experience, everyone who attended gained from seeing this important film together, and having the chance to discuss it afterwards.

Goodbye Lynsey

After many years as our Nurse and Clinical Manager, Lynsey Button has retired.

She leaves a very big gap, her shoes will be hard to fill. She has been a caring, supportive presence to many many people over 16 years. She has been a leader, pioneer, inspiration and example to all those who have been fortunate to work with her and alongside her. Her warmth, empathy and kindness have been comfort and support to people using the service and her generosity, thoughtfulness and compassion have been a lifeline to carers. We will miss her, but we hope that her example will have influenced those with whom she worked, and that her inspiration will continue in the life of the organisation.

We wish her well, and hope she will keep in touch!IMG_7812-001