A Rothwell man’s idea for making communities ‘dementia friendly’ has proved so successful the template is being rolled out across the city.
Peter Smith’s plan for a Dementia Friendly Rothwell has already inspired community programmes across South Leeds, including The Cosy Corner at Woodlesford Methodist Hall as well as projects in Holbeck and Beeston.
He started Dementia Friendly Rothwell three years ago with a small monthly café where people living with dementia and their carers could meet.
He has held talks and other awareness events to help make shops and services across Rothwell safe and secure places for people with dementia. Mr Smith said: “The key to combating dementia lies in our communities. It’s not about funding, it’s about helping people by creating a community that’s supportive, safe and secure for people with dementia.
“We just try to let the community know about dementia and how it effects people as well as the loneliness that comes with it.”
The Tea Cosy Memory Cafe takes place on the first Saturday of each month at the Parish Centre in Rothwell, where dementia sufferers can tell their stories.
Service user Colin Speck, 80, enjoys getting active with the group. Mr Speck, who lives in Rothwell was an avid marathon runner and cyclist before being diagnosed with dementia seven years ago.
He regularly attends the group with his wife Lillian, who said the events did wonders for them in providing reassurance and support.
Mr Smith added: “People say the Tea Cosy is buzzing and alive and ask how do you do it?
“I just say we don’t do it, if the people from the community didn’t come there wouldn’t be a buzz, or a cafe.
“It costs two pounds for a full English and a coffee and we get expert solicitors and gardeners in giving useful advice to our members.
“They just like having a laugh and a few games of bingo, we just sit and have a few jokes.”
On Friday the West Yorkshire Playhouse announced plans for attendees of the Tea Cosy and other Alzhiemer’s support groups in Leeds to see a dementia friendly production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas this December.
Nicky Taylor, who is behind the event, said: “They’re doing some fantastic work in Rothwell and we’re happy to have a strong link with them.
“We can learn from what they are doing and they can benefit from what we’re doing here.”
For more information about Demential Friendly Rothwell contact Peter Smith on 07845 935233.