A £2,000 grant from Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ Charitable Foundation will help Leominster’s meeting centre, which helps those living with dementia and their carers, to continue to thrive as it has even through lockdown.
The centre, one of two original centres set up as part of research into how to support people who have been diagnosed with dementia in their own communities, has been open for four years at the Priory Centre in Leominster. It gives its members the chance to join in with a range of social and educational activities – up to 20 at a time can join in under the current restrictions.
The money will be used to tackle the centre’s flooring – Phillipa Bruce-Kerr, a trustee at the centre, said: “The flooring really needs updating; not only for members whose mobility is deteriorating but to help others whose perception is changing. For example, for someone with dementia, dark areas of floor can be seen as holes.
“The grant is a real boost for the centre – we like to keep it up to date as much as we can, and we really want to make the most of our outdoor space now, so the grant will also help us with that, which is excellent.”
The Foundation supports causes in the communities around HCR offices, focusing on education, healthcare, community initiatives and the environment. Set up in 2007, it has made grants of more than £250,000 since then from fundraising by HCR staff.
The centre has operated through much of the last year, often with reduced numbers, but it has also found new members and supporters.
Phillipa explained: “Normally, our members have to have had a diagnosis of dementia, but they will often come with a member of their family or a friend; someone to support them. We find that these supporters continue coming to us, even after the original member can no longer attend.
“This year we have found that people have come along and wanted to join, not knowing about the link with dementia, just because they have enjoyed the sessions, which is great – they have joined us as supporters.”
Dawn Oliver, on behalf of the Foundation, said: “I am delighted that we could help, especially at a time when so many of those living with dementia, along with their families, have suffered from the effects of lockdown. I hope that this will give the centre a real boost.”
The centre is one of three which are the subject of research by the University of Worcester to help find ways that such centres can keep supporting people in uncertain times.
The University has been given £350,000 so that its Association for Dementia Studies can look at how the centres have tackled challenges and what lessons can be learned to help other community-based dementia support initiatives.
Harrison Clark Rickerbys has more than 600 staff and partners based at offices in Cheltenham, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Hereford, London, Thames Valley, Worcester, and the Wye Valley, who provide a complete spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients, regionally and nationwide. The firm also has a number of highly specialist sector-specific teams, including technology, finance and financial services, defence, security and the forces, health and social care, education, agricultural and rural affairs, and construction.