21st July 2020

Alzheimer’s Support is starting to welcome members back to its day clubs in Wiltshire.

The charity has worked with Wiltshire Council and Public Health England to ensure the clubs are safe to reopen and was delighted to receive official approval last week.

Old Silk Works Club in Warminster will reopen on Tuesday 28th July with Sidmouth Street Club in Devizes following on Tuesday 18th August. Mill Street Club in Trowbridge will reopen once a new ventilation and extraction unit has been fitted - hopefully by the end of August.  

The clubs are a lifeline for members and their families, many of whom have found life in lockdown extremely isolating and difficult.

Planning to reopen day care

Head of Day Care at Alzheimer’s Support Grant Newton said: “A huge amount of thought, planning and application has gone into this. Our plans have been scrutinised by experts and explained in great detail to families so everyone can feel reassured. We are opening each club in turn to so we can make sure we get it absolutely right for each setting. 

“While the heart and humour of the clubs will remain unchanged, there will be, of necessity, many changes in how we operate to keep people safe.”

These include setting specific guidance and risk assessment, strict infection control measures, staff wearing PPE as appropriate and activities in smaller groups.

At lunchtime, ready-cooked meals from leading food company, apetito, will be served in place of the club’s usual home-cooked lunches. The Trowbridge-based company, which works closely with Alzheimer’s Support as a corporate partner, is offering the meals free of charge to allow the charity’s staff to concentrate on members. 

A spokesperson for apetito said: "Alzheimer's Support does amazing work locally. We want to help wherever we can to make a real difference in people's  lives and we know how tough the last few months been for many individuals and families who are living with dementia."

Dementia day care 'desperately missed'

Grant said: “We are absolutely delighted to be opening our doors again. We know how desperately the clubs have been missed. We have kept in touch with all the members by phone, and I have spent the last few weeks visiting members in their own gardens. It was so good to see people again, but I also found it heartbreaking at times as the social isolation people are experiencing is so damaging.

"I was asked at every visit ‘when will the day clubs open’ which I couldn’t answer then. Now at last we can give people some good news – and everyone is overjoyed to think we’ll be back together soon.”

Denise Fryer, whose husband Mike is a member at Old Silk Works said: “I am delighted with the reopening because it has been a traumatic time for both of us. I have had so much help and support from the charity over the last few weeks and from others – but I am really delighted to have the club back.”

Sharing learning

Grant added: "We have worked very closely with Wiltshire Council and Public Health England, and we would also like to thank the Peggy Dodd Centre in Bath and Dauntsey House at Market Lavington who shared information and learning with us. In turn we are very happy for other providers to look at and learn from the Guidance and Risk Assessment documents we have put together. 

Alzheimer's Support Old Silk Works reopening Guidance and Risk Assessment.