Bringing Adventure To Those With Dementia

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Dementia Adventure is a multi-award winning social enterprise and a registered charity which specialises in connecting people living with dementia with nature and giving them a sense of adventure. Dementia Adventure is based in Essex but works nationally and has an international following. Now in our 6th year of operation, Dementia Adventure is on an exciting and ambitious growth plan to reach thousands more people living with dementia with our nature-based adventures, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Do you know someone with dementia who needs an adventure?

We deliver our own adventures and support other organisations, using our experience and expertise to run theirs. We work hard to prove the positive impact that adventures have for people living with dementia and their carers. In the last year we have successfully designed and delivered bespoke and supported adventure holidays and short breaks for 62 people living with dementia and their carers. We focus specifically on connecting people living with dementia with nature and giving people a sense of adventure, through organising activities which are challenging yet possible and supporting people to fully take part in an atmosphere which is non-judgmental and positive.

A week in the Lake District was enjoyed by 3 couples and 3 staff in September 2013. Sue and Sally, who took their husbands who are both living with dementia, said:

“Good balance of fun, caring natures, but allowing privacy & independence wherever possible. Loved all of them, first class.”

“Loved feeling able to reconnect with my husband with help available when necessary.”

Audrey spoke of the unbelieveable impact the trip had on her and her husband Dennis who has Alzheimer’s disease:

“His mood lifted giving him a sustained energy to tackle many activities and socialise in a more positive way. I benefitted from having a rest from caring for Dennis and was given an insight about how I must keep myself healthy, calm, caring and enthusiastic to keep our lives interesting and forward thinking even though we have to face the testing moments Alzheimer’s throws up at us to test us both.”

This year the support we have received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has enabled us to expand our park walks programme from its origins in Chelmsford in Essex to include park walks in Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham and Stroud, with further walks being developed in Leicester and Worcestershire. These walks are two hours long and are designed and delivered with people living with dementia in mind to enjoy time and activity together outdoors in beautiful settings. The walks are called ‘Walk and Talk Together’ because it is as much about the exercise as it is about socialising together in lovely green spaces. Park walks help and are needed because people feel safer and more confident to take part in outdoor activity when everyone is ‘in the same boat’ and understands dementia.

So far this year we have enabled over 350 people to benefit from park walks and provided training to over 50 staff and volunteers to successfully design and deliver these walks at a local level. With further interest from numerous other locations who want a park walk in their area the future expansion of this work is very exciting. Dementia Adventure is now looking for a national organisation to partner with to deliver these walks in over 12 locations next year.

Here are some quotes which demonstrate the impact and benefits of our park walks:

“As an Activities Coordinator I would certainly recommend highly this type of activity for people who have dementia. It has been so rewarding for care staff and family to see the pleasure it has given our residents over the past months, especially those who have severe dementia and who have communicated for the first time in a long while, even if it was just a smile”, Audrey Brown, Activities Co-ordinator, Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court, Stisted Hall

“I had the best day”, person living with dementia

“A lot of fun”, person living with dementia

Dementia Adventure has an ambitious five year plan of expansion which, thanks to the long-term support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will see our successful park walks programme expand from 6 locations this year to 50 in 2019. We also plan to expand our Dementia Adventure holidays to provide 40 bespoke and residential holidays a year in addition to expanding the training and bespoke support we provide to health, social care and leisure organisations to over 320 days a year. This would not be possible without the generous support of players which gives us the strength and freedom to remain innovative and reach more people with dementia.

For more information about Dementia Adventure holidays or park walks then please visit our website.

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This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Neil Mapes, Managing Director at Dementia Adventure. This wonderful charity provides training, research and personalised projects for people living with dementia.

Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Sets Sail

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The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust takes young people aged 8-24 sailing to rebuild their confidence following treatment for cancer. Throughout June and July the charity has been running four-day sailing adventures, taking an additional 76 young people in recovery from cancer sailing in the breathtakingly beautiful waters of Scotland.

In its 11th year, the Trust has grown beyond every expectation into a national charity. With a Principal Treatment Centre and a growing number of Designated Units in the UK, the expansion of its operation from the Isle of Wight on the South Coast of England to Largs, Scotland comes as part of a three-year plan to double the number of young people they take sailing. This plan had been made possible by the generous support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Largs trips take place in the stunning waters of the Firth of Clyde and make various stopovers, including Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute, before sailing on to the National Sailing Centre at Great Cumbrae and back to Largs. Trips like these give young people in recovery from cancer the chance to rebuild their confidence through sailing. Situated in the sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde, Largs Yacht Haven is an ideal base for an introduction to sailing for the young people.

Taking part in the first trip to sail from the new Scottish base this summer, Amy Quinn (21) from Glasgow, who finished treatment in June 2013 for ovarian serous carcinoma, explains why the Trust trips are so important: “This is my second trip with the Trust and it’s been really exciting to come back and learn a bit more about sailing. It’s so important to meet other people who know what you have been through, to be able to talk about it all. The trips are just the best thing ever and it’s so exciting that more people will have the opportunity to experience it.

This is the second year the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has run a sailing programme in Largs. However, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the summer of 2014 is a landmark as the Trust opens the doors to their own office.

Thanks to the long-term support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery who pledge to raise an amazing £1 Million over the next ten years, the Trust will keep investing and developing the base in Largs until they are able to run a full summer programme from April to September taking a further 200 young people sailing per year. This would not be possible without the generous support of the players.

For more information about trips like this, visit the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust website.

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This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, an amazing charity that has received vital funding from our players to help young people in recovery from cancer and leukaemia regain self confidence.

Exciting Carpet Conservation Project

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The oldest, largest and most important carpet in Stourhead has been sent for conservation work, thanks to a generous award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery towards the National Trust’s priority collections conservation projects.

Made by the world-famous Axminster carpet company in the 19th century, the magnificent carpet which characterises Stourhead’s great Saloon, was originally a fiery orange with a Persian design of large lotus and flowering stems on a scarlet ground, with meandering plants in a rose-red border. It is the oldest original carpet in the house and was rescued by servants from a devastating fire in 1902, which destroyed the central core of the house. After the fire the Saloon was remodelled by raising the ceiling, extending the room and inserting a column screen towards the back of the house. The carpet saved from the fire was adapted to fit around the new columns.

Having lived through the turbulent war period and being covered by heavy furniture such as the Steinway grand piano for many years, it had been in need of revamp for a long time. The beautiful orange colour faded and splits and holes had appeared throughout and the carpet’s condition deteriorated even with occasional use. The areas around the columns were particularly vulnerable as every movement tore at its structure.

With the fantastic support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery the carpet is now receiving careful cleaning and conservation from the Tetley Workshop in Devon, who are adding support to the damaged areas and restoring some of the losses such as splits and holes. Removing the carpet safely from the house was a complex operation. Stourhead’s volunteers were asked to help move the 40-60 stone carpet, which stretches from wall to wall at 9.7m x 8.6m. The carpet is larger than life in more ways than one, as Stourhead’s House Steward, Alison Lee, explained:

This is the oldest carpet in the house, and the only one that belonged to the family. It is a rare, original Axminster. It has been in need of support for such a long time, and we haven’t had the ability to deal with it, so the fantastic support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been really important. It is huge and quite a weight so we got a real idea of what the servants at Stourhead felt when they had to take the carpet out during the fire.”

Visitors are used to seeing the carpet covered by heavy furniture which all had to be removed before the carpet could be lifted. Uncovered, the carpet was both beautiful and rather a shock as a moth infestation, although swiftly dealt with, had left its mark and the edges and certain areas of the carpet were far more vulnerable than we had previously seen.

We were delighted to discover a high quality polished floor beneath, which visitors are now also be able to see for the first time this year. The piano and other furniture items have been returned to the Saloon until the carpet is replaced in November, when the room will be emptied again to allow it to be re-laid.

The National Trust and the team at Stourhead would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their fantastic support in raising the funds for this incredible project, which will enable the carpet to be returned to Stourhead’s Saloon in its renewed condition, the stitching fully restored and the colours singing vibrantly for visitors to enjoy for years to come.

More information on Stourhead is available on the National Trust website.

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This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from the National Trust, which has received £200,000 from our players to date. This funding has helped this amazing organisation to protect English and Welsh cultural and national heritage for generations of people to enjoy.