Volunteers reach out to area’s dementia sufferers


A series of special events are taking place in Tonbridge over the next few days marking Dementia Awareness week.

The campaign, led by the Alzheimer’s Society, aims to tackle key issues surrounding mental health affecting hundreds of thousands across the UK.

Volunteers from Building a Dementia Friendly Tonbridge kick-started events last Saturday, with the launch of a new dementia café at the town’s Methodist Church.

This was followed by a three-day photo exhibition at the Old Fire Station which included an appearance from a vintage Land Rover fire engine formerly used by the area’s fire teams.

The exhibition featured a number of photos and artefacts from the station’s history, with town flood warden Carl Lewis dressing in authentic 1950s brigade uniform.

Among the other free events is a themed talk at Tonbridge library tomorrow (Thursday May 19, at 6pm) about Second World War evacuees, followed by the formal opening of the Angel Centre’s sensory garden on Saturday.

A cooking with rations event also takes place at the Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival on the castle’s lawns on Sunday May 22, evoking tastes and smells from the 1940s. Meanwhile, on Wednesday May 25, Havet Turkish restaurant in Tonbridge is staging a ‘meze and meet’ session, and Bubbles Launderette rounds off events with a Dementia Friends Awareness session on Thursday May 26 from 7pm.

Organiser Pam Mills said: “We have taken our inspiration from Christine Parker of Abbey Funeral Services, who has led Building a Dementia Friendly Tonbridge events, which we are doing as part of the national dementia week, and hope they will help encourage people to find out more about dementia.”

Mr Carl Lewis said: “It’s always worthwhile getting involved with events like this to support such issues.

“People who are suffering from dementia can still live very full lives, though there’s still something of a stigma attached to it.”

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