Chess club joins forces with dementia awareness group

PUBLISHED: 14:02 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:27 13 March 2018

Broadland Chess Club has joined forces with the Broadland Dementia Action Alliance. Picture: IAN BURT

Broadland Chess Club has joined forces with the Broadland Dementia Action Alliance. Picture: IAN BURT

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Chess players are teaming up with a dementia group to raise awareness of the degenerative condition.

The Broadland Chess Club, which meets two-three times a week at the King’s Head in Coltishall, has become a member of the Broadland Dementia Action Alliance.

Formed in January 2017, the alliance includes Broadland residents and aims to increase awareness of dementia across the district and promote Dementia Friends awareness sessions - which train people in spotting signs of the condition and how to support those living with it.

It also brings together businesses, groups and organisations across the district to make the area more dementia friendly.

The chess club is the latest group to join the alliance and will promote Dementia Friends training sessions and offer safe places where people with dementia can play chess, away from the King’s Head.

This could include the Sprowston Community Dementia Café, run by the Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community Group, at Sprowston Diamond Centre every third Thursday from 10am-noon.

Club treasurer Roy Hughes, 58, who lives on Sprowston Green, said: “The club is part and parcel of the community. We need to help people with difficulties and open our door to everybody.”

He added the benefits of chess and other similar activities for dementia were becoming more recognised within society.

“Chess is very beneficial for exercising the brain,” Mr Hughes added.

As well as stimulating the brain, chess playing offers the chance for people to socialise.

The treasurer is one of seven Dementia Friends within the club, which has more than 40 members.

Mr Hughes added it was understood to be the first chess club in Britain to have become involved with the National Dementia Action Alliance, set up in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society.

His wife, Sandra Hughes, 59, a Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community Group Dementia Champion, said: “There is no reason why people with dementia cannot carry on doing things they used to do. It is very important people are aware of the condition. It makes people living with it feel safer.”

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