Mental Health Awareness Week: In Jolly Good Company

Dementia patients enjoy get-togethers, gardening and singing

Mental Health Awareness Week: In Jolly Good Company

IN Jolly Good Company in Blandford gives people diagnosed with dementia and their carers a sense of purpose and companionship while improving the area’s environment.

It set up a new dementia friendly gardening group in Blandford, working with Dementia Friendly Blandford and the town council. The group works with older people with dementia and aims to tackle loneliness and isolation by arranging get-togethers, clubs and outings.

Staff member Sarah Rampton said the charity plans  to run two groups a month. “We have been asked by the town council if we can help to maintain and improve the sensory garden in the Woodhouse Gardens,” she said.

The group also runs Step Outside Blandford, a regular singing group that helps keep members in touch with one another and prevents them becoming isolated. “The majority of our guests in Blandford have been referred to us through the Blandford Group Practice GP surgery, Carer’s Support workers (Social Services) and Help and Care who hold the dementia contract for Dorset,” said Mrs Rampton.

“They are all looking for activities and support for isolated older people who are in some cases struggling to cope with looking after themselves or another person with dementia.”

She said the activities are essential for members. “Our group is almost full of people desperate to get out, have respite, company, support and the joy of singing together,” she said.

“We collaborate with local musicians and the voluntary contributions our guests donate, help us to pay these musicians properly. We are hoping that our work will slow down cognitive decline in people with memory problems, we also have the physical benefits of singing, the breathing exercises we use to warm up with and a lovely walk through the garden.”

The group has been funded through our Wessex Water Recovery Fund, which paid for part-time staff and equipment.

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