January 3 2018

Alzheimer's Support is starting five new groups for people living with dementia and their carers as the charity embarks on its New Year's resolution to have a specialist service within five miles of every village in the county.

First to meet is a new Gardening Cafe at Malmesbury. The cafe, which started as a pilot last autumn, brings together people who share an interest in gardening. They meet in the cafe at Malmesbury Garden Centre to discuss tips and techniques, reminisce about favourite gardens and enjoy refreshments and a short garden-related talk or activity. The Malmesbury Gardening Cafe will meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 3.30pm.

A similar cafe is due to start at Wilton Garden Centre on January 8th. It will meet on the second Monday of each month from 10.30am to 12noon.  Both groups will be organised by a facilitator from Alzheimer's Support, with the garden centres will provide a staff member to provide support, know-how and activities to suit the group.

Next week will also see the first meeting of our new Movement for the Mind in Calne. The group is the fourth run by Alzheimer's Support and will offer our trademark blend of gentle exercise to music, reminiscence, and plenty of fun. The group will meet fortnightly at The Marden Centre on Tuesdays between 10.30am and 12noon, with the first meeting on January 9th. 

The same day sees the launch of a Music and Movement for the Mind group at Mildenhall. Alzheimer’s Support already runs a network of singing and movement groups across Wiltshire but this is the first to combine the two. The group will meet every week during termtime. The Music for the Mind sessions will involve singing a variety of songs under the guidance of a trained music teacher. Alternating with these will be gentle exercise sessions. People coming along do not need any experience of singing or to be super-fit and everyone joins in at their own pace.

Later in the month will be be the first meeting of a completely new service, a weekly Memory Shed in Corsham. The Wednesday afternoon meetings at Brunel Shed in Corsham will allow people to work on practical projects supported by trained volunteers.

The group is a partnership between Alzheimer's Support and the Brunel Shed which already holds its own twice-weekly meetings at the shed, and is supported by Corsham Health and Wellbeing Group. Projects planned for the new dementia-friendly group include making bird boxes, memory boxes, wooden animals and, in the spring, raised flower beds. Members will also be supported to work on their own chosen projects. The first meeting will be on Wednesday January 24th from 1.30pm to 4pm.

Sarah Marriott, Head of Community Services at Alzheimer's Support said: "We are delighted to be opening these groups as we know what a difference it makes for people to be able to get out and be sociable with others in a supportive setting. We are so grateful to the volunteers who make these groups possible and to everyone who has helped us to get these off the ground.

"This is just the start and we are planning to open more Gardening Cafes, art groups and Movement for the Mind in the coming months. Our eventual aim is to have a group of some kind within five miles of everyone in Wiltshire."

To come along to any of the groups please call 01380 739055 or book a place online