Column: We can all become dementia friendly

Michele Clarke from the CCG with Tia Rescue staff
Michele Clarke from the CCG with Tia Rescue staff

What’s the connection between a Doncaster dog rescue centre and dementia? Summed up in a couple of words, it’s ‘awareness and understanding’. Because Finningley’s Tia Rescue, which is home to up to 100 greyhounds, shire horses, donkeys and other animals, has become the 100th member of the Doncaster Dementia Action Alliance.

The Alliance is a growing group of local organisations that want to make life easier for Doncaster people with dementia. They are helping to reduce the stigma and improve the understanding of the illness through awareness raising activities, training and education. They want to make the services they provide more inclusive, so people living with dementia are able to continue doing the things they enjoy within their community for longer.

It’s not only compassionate, it makes good business sense.

Tia Rescue started 21 years ago and became a registered charity in 2004 because the welfare of former racing greyhounds is a problem. It has grown from a few stables in West Yorkshire to a network of charity shops and its current home - a 70 acre farm and café at Finningley, which is a great place to visit and see animals close up.

You may have seen signs around the borough saying Doncaster is working to become Dementia Friendly. It’s an important initiative, which is being given a further plug over the next few days as today is the start of Dementia Awareness Week. The NHS, Doncaster Council and other organisations are working closely together to stage a number of events to help you find out more about local services that can help people with dementia.

On Tuesday 16 May, the Information Health Bus will be at St Sepulchre Gate in the town centre from 10am to 4pm. At 2pm there will be a drop-in information session at the Holmescarr Centre, Grange Lane, Rossington at 2pm.

Also on Tuesday at CAST, there will be performances of Ax2B Theatre Company’s Grandma Remember Me? at 11am and 2pm. You’ll need a ticket for this.

On Wednesday 17 May, there will be an afternoon tea and memory activities event, including sing-along and quiz, at Hayfield Resource Centre, Hayfield Lane, Auckley from 1.15pm to 3pm.

On Thursday 18 May at 2pm, the Walled Garden at St Catherine’s House, Woodfield Park, Balby will host a tea party in the Dementia Garden. Also in the afternoon, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm the Memory Café will meet at Woodlands Fire Station.

On Friday 19 May from 10am to 3pm , there will be an event at Doncaster College’s Hub to showcase and celebrate the work that has taken place in Doncaster to support people with dementia and their carers. The Alzheimer’s Society Tour Bus will also be at the adjacent Doncaster College waterfront at the same time to provide information and advice.

They are just a few highlights but there’s much more happening and you can see the full agenda at Dementia Road Map