Stepping Stones

Annette Brooke reports on a Broadstone project for older people, carers and people with memory loss.

The vision for Stepping Stones was set at a Conference held at Broadstone Methodist Church in 2014. Over one hundred people attended and the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society was a key note speaker. The activities which are now available have evolved to suit the particular needs of our local community. Also the vision has been widened to include social isolation.

Our monthly 'Drop In' at Broadstone Methodist Church is very well attended and well supported by volunteers. It has the very special characteristic of being inclusive. We try to ensure all our attendees have a good time. Some people come just to chat with others but there are always plenty of activities for those who wish to participate. The activities include flower arranging, cake decorating, simple crafts, singing, and games. Currently, a firm favourite is carpet bowls. Once a month a team from Broadstone challenges a Corfe Mullen team at Corfe Mullen Village Hall. We all take great pride when Broadstone wins the cup!

A weekly reading and listening group takes place in Broadstone Library. Again the group is very inclusive with some people with memory loss and others who just enjoy the group activity. We read plays and have recently completed ‘Pickwick Papers’ (a play version) and ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’. We have read whole books including ‘A Christmas Carol’ and many short stories ranging from Maeve Binchy to Sherlock Holmes.

Peter Jones, a qualified psychiatric nurse, holds monthly advice surgeries in Broadstone Library for carers and those who are beginning to experience memory loss. The main purpose of these sessions is to listen and to signpost where and how help might be available.

In partnership with Broadstone Churches Together and the Tuesday Lunch Club we hold 'Forget Me Not' services at Christmas, Easter and Harvest time at Broadstone United Reformed Church.  These services last just thirty minutes and include well known hymns and readings. They are always followed by tea and cake and everybody is welcome to attend,

including groups from local nursing homes.

We also operate a safety bracelet scheme which enables carers to have peace of mind if they are concerned that the person they care for might become lost in a public space. The bracelet has a unique identifying number on it and Poole Lifeline Services' telephone number. Poole Lifeline holds details of the bracelet wearer. If they receive a phone call and are given the number on the bracelet they then contact the Carer.

Dementia Awareness Week has now been renamed Dementia Action Week. The idea is that everybody might take a small action to improve the quality of life of people with memory loss. This year it takes place from 20–26 May. We are holding an Information Event in Broadstone Library on 22 May, 10am to 12 noon. Information will be available on: power of attorney, activities in the community, local support for carers, how to become a dementia friend and much more.

Has Stepping Stones fulfilled its mission? Yes and no! Yes, because we have developed a wide range of activities but no, because there is so much more to do to raise awareness in our local community. The more inclusive and understanding we are, then overall the quality of life for us all is higher.

For more details contact Annette Brooke.

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