AN INNOVATIVE new service to help people with dementia across South West Wales and their carers feel more supported and enjoy a full and active life through activities including art, drama, and photography launched in Llanelli on Friday (15 November).
Alzheimer’s Society will run the ‘Life not just a service’ project across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Swansea, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot, after being awarded over £720,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The project will be delivered through a programme of adult community learning opportunities including art, drama, patchwork quilting, family history, and photography – to name but a few. Each course will run for 10 weeks, with the weekly session operating for three hours in locations across south west Wales.
The event, which highlighted the charity’s support services for people living with dementia in South West Wales, was attended by Jonathan Edwards MP. Speaking at the event he said:
‘In my surgeries I meet many carers who are extremely grateful for the work of Alzheimer’s Society in helping them to adapt to a life-changing condition which impacts not just the individual, but the wider family circle. Amongst other things Alzheimer’s Society offers hope to people that there is life beyond developing dementia.
‘The fact that Alzheimer’s Society has been awarded substantial funding from the Big Lottery is a testament to the confidence stakeholders have in the work the Society undertakes’.
The new funding is one of three Big Lottery projects secured in the last 18 months for Alzheimer’s Society in Wales, totalling £2.75m (£2,750,000).
The advocacy and befriending services, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s AdvantAGE programme, were officially launched in July 2012 and have since helped to support people across South West Wales who are living with all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Cheryl James, Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in South West Wales said: ‘There are estimated to be over 44,500 people with dementia in Wales and as the population ages, we all face the risk of one day developing the condition. Through our new project ‘Life Not Just a Service’ we aim to reach out and offer a range of learning opportunities to those who may not have otherwise been able to access our support services.
‘People with dementia and their carers can often experience feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially in the more rural parts of Wales. Alzheimer’s Society is committed to reaching out to all people with dementia and their carers in order to help them and support them to live well with dementia now and in the future.
‘We hope that the new ‘Life Not Just a Service’ will increase public awareness of dementia and give people a better understanding of the condition; reducing the stigma. We also hope that the project will create a sense of community spirit where people with dementia can be active citizens.
‘We are delighted that thanks to the generous support of the Big Lottery Fund, we can bring these much needed services to Wales.’