What a year it has been for Wymondham Dementia Support Group with so many developments and an ever increasing membership; at the time of writing we have 60 couples who regularly enjoy our activities at the Pabulum Café, The Pabulum Picture Palace and our new and thriving Sports and Leisure Club held in the Church Hall.
We have enjoyed some great outreach events with a wonderful garden party and barbecue held in the garden of Dianne’s mum’s house. Over 100 people attended and great food and much wine was consumed with live music and dancing to round off a very special day. Two outings each attended by over 100 people took us to Wroxham for a glorious Broads trip and in September we visited ‘Africa Alive’ at Kessingland and enjoyed being entertained by Zulu warriors.
Our core service remains the Pabulum Café incorporating our carers support group; art & craft classes; poetry group; library and information hub; and of course The Singing Café who cut their Christmas CD in July which will be available to purchase (£3) at the end of October. Our computer training using our laptops and tablets is proving popular with members learning to access the internet, use e-mails, internet shopping and take and modify photos and access Facebook (remember to keep an eye on our Facebook page)
Mentioned earlier was our new Sports and Leisure Club which meets in the Church Hall when the Café is open. This has proven immensely popular with Indoor Curling, Snooker, Table Tennis, Skittles and many table top games available. It has been rewarding to see the pleasure this development has brought to members and carers and it’s also providing healthy exercise.
The breaking news is, of course, the rapid development of the Pabulum Dementia Friendly Garden which Dianne and her team of volunteers are developing at a pace. We are most grateful to the Fairland United Reformed Church who have given us use of the piece of land beside the Church which is substantial and is about 150 ft x 50 ft in size. Within the last two months the site has been cleared, the listed wall repaired, a shed and garden equipment & seats purchased, a path laid, outside power & CCTV installed and wood purchased to create raised flower and vegetable gardens. The development work is ongoing and it will be a real focus for many of our members who are keen to participate next spring. Although there are many volunteers involved special thanks to Tony Shead and Rob Skegg for their unique skills so gladly given to this project.
None of our activities and new projects would be possible without the amazing support of a wide range of funders ranging from Norfolk grant giving trusts, local organisations and businesses, and many individuals. Our grateful thanks to them all.
Also a huge thank you to all our volunteers (54) who go ‘above and beyond’ with their many skills, caring and empathy which we observe every week.
At our AGM on October 9th, Colin Foulger, our Chairman, paid tribute and said ‘farewell’ to retiring trustees Rita Harris, Trevor Brown, Richard Dean and Melanie Calow, and welcomed as new trustees Tony Shead, Rob Skegg, Phil Whiscombe & Trevor Forder.
Finally we were so pleased to announce at the AGM that The Lady Dannatt MBE has agreed to become Patron of Wymondham Dementia Support Group. Pippa, as Lady Dannatt prefers to be called, was born and raised in South Norfolk. Last year she was High Sheriff of Norfolk when her theme was Mental Health. As a young army wife and mother when her husband was based in Germany she trained as a counsellor with Relate working with families on army bases, realising that many of the people she was seeing had mental health problems.
Pippa is married to General Richard Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, and we are delighted to welcome her as our Patron.
We are hoping to open the Pabulum Café for an additional day in the new year – if so it will be on the first Monday of each month opening from 10 -12 noon for coffee, support, cakes and a chat, with no intention of replicating our range of Friday activities. At the moment we are still in discussion amongst trustees, volunteers and Fairland URC with a target opening on 4th January, 2016.