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Dementia Centre at St Matthias, Malvern Link

Published: 5th October 2021

The Malvern Link Dementia centreThe parish of Malvern Link with Cowleigh has recently opened a Dementia Meeting Centre in St Matthias Church as part of their ministry to the local community.  The centre runs from 10am – 3pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the parish funds an Age UK dementia nurse to manage the centre and work with those who attend.

Vicar Phillip Johnson said: “We’ve been spending time thinking about the ways in which we can have the most impact on our community and providing space and running a dementia centre was very high on the list. We started the project in 2019 and spent most of 2020 doing the planning and fundraising. We also made substantial changes to the space in order to make it as dementia friendly as possible and have collaborated with Age UK during the first year to jointly fund the manager who also runs other centres Wednesday – Friday.”

The centres are part of a project across the whole of the country led by the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester. They’re modelled on the Meeting Dem system which has run in Holland for over 20 years. Dementia Meeting Centres have strict protocols and expectations around person-centred therapy and specific enhancement activities which aid stimulation, engagement and socialisation. There’s a significant body of research showing the dramatic extent they have on slowing the progression of dementia.

Former nurse, Kirsty Hughes, manages the centre and works with local people who attend, who all have mild-moderate dementia. She said:

bread made at the dementia centre“We plan a whole range of different activities for those who attend the centre – included seated dance, quizzes, baking, crafts and board games. Carers can stay if they’d like or go and have a few hours of respite. Following the pandemic, this has been particularly appreciated as many have been coping on their own for the past 18 months and are exhausted. It’s great working with the church. They have provided storage space for our resources and we’re working together to ensure the signage, tables and lighting are as dementia friendly as possible and they also support our appeals for different craft materials!”

Those who attend the centre, enjoy walking around the churchyard during the sessions and Kirsty is working closely with St Matthias CE Primary who have offered a corner of their field for raised flower beds which the local Rotary has agreed to fund. During the summer, sixth form students completed voluntary work at the centre, giving a multi-generational feel.

Alan is a local man who attends most Wednesdays. He said: “It is really great to have a centre like this close to home. I really enjoy sitting around and chatting to the other people who are here.”

“This is such an important part of our ministry to the local community,” continued Phillip. “Alongside the centre, we hope to hold specific dementia friendly services and host a conference on Dementia and Christian Spirituality as well as enhancing all of our spaces to make them more accessible. Our hope is in the future, the centre manager will be a full-time member of our ministry team rather than running a number of centres.”

Page last updated: Tuesday 5th October 2021 6:30 PM

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