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Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group has big plans for £9,000 Lottery boost

PUBLISHED: 11:42 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 02 November 2017

Liz Withington and Janet Eastwood of Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group, which has just received a £9,000 Lottery grant. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Liz Withington and Janet Eastwood of Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group, which has just received a £9,000 Lottery grant. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Sheringham is set to seal its status as a flagship town for people with dementia, thanks to a £9,000 National Lottery grant.

Liz Withington and Janet Eastwood, who help run 'mindercise' exercise and social sessions as founder members of Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Liz Withington and Janet Eastwood, who help run 'mindercise' exercise and social sessions as founder members of Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The town’s Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) group, which was launched two years ago, was hailed by Age UK for “leading the way” on making public buildings accessible to people with dementia.

As well as running dementia awareness workshops for staff at more than 30 Sheringham businesses and organisations, the group has put signs in local shops and public buildings, launched a vulnerable adults scheme with the help of Sheringham’s Safer Neighbourhood team and carried out dementia friendly audits at shops and tourist attractions.

'Mmindercise' exercise and social sessions run by Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group. Photo: LIZ WITHINGTON 'Mmindercise' exercise and social sessions run by Sheringham Dementia Friendly Community group. Photo: LIZ WITHINGTON

The group, which runs weekly ‘mindercise’ exercise, advice and social sessions for people with dementia and their carers, has also branched out into other towns and recently trained staff and advised managers at leisure centres at Fakenham, Sheringham and North Walsham.

Sheringham DFC founder member Janet Eastwood, who is chairman of Sheringham Medical Practice Patient Participation Group, said the focus was on supporting people to “live well” with dementia.

“It is about letting people know that their community is there to support them and that help is available if they need it,” she added.

Retired nurse practitioner Mrs Eastwood, who has been asked to run dementia awareness training sessions at sports venues and doctors’ surgeries at Cromer, Mundesley and Holt, said the Lottery cash would fund the weekly exercise class for a year, as well as allowing the group to launch ‘down memory lane’ singing workshops and a buddy scheme linking up volunteers with people with dementia.

Fellow founder member Liz Withington, who is Sheringham DFC chairman, put the group’s success down to taking a “different approach”.

“We wanted the whole community to be accessible to people living with dementia,” she explained. “What we are trying to do is to break down the stigma so that people aren’t frightened about getting a diagnosis and, when they do get a diagnosis, it becomes acceptable in the community.”

Sheringham DFC ‘mindercise’ sessions run on Wednesdays from 12.30pm-1.30pm at the Lighthouse Church, Cromer Road. For more information, visit the Sheringham DFC Facebook page.

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