Dementia Friendly Parishes around the Yealm celebrated its 10th anniversary recently with Plymouth born TV celebrity and presenter, Angela Rippon. 

Angela joined Trustees, committee members, volunteers and people living with dementia at ‘The Rose and Crown’, Yealmpton for coffee and cake to mark the milestone birthday. 

This remarkable local charity supports people living with dementia and their families to remain active and involved in their communities.  Angela Rippon spoke about how important dementia friendly communities are in reducing the impact of isolation and loneliness in our rural communities. 

They work with the parish councils of Wembury, Brixton, Yealmpton, Newton & Noss and Holbeton.

In 2018 they obtained charitable status and have supported a large number of families during this time.

The ethos is that you can’t change the person living with dementia but you can change the experience they have in their community.

This unique project also raises awareness about dementia in the community so that shops, cafes, post offices, hairdressers and local businesses are dementia friendly. 

They support and improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families, enable people with dementia to remain active and involved in community  life, work with local groups and organisations to develop and support inclusive dementia-friendly activities raise awareness and understanding of dementia both locally and nationally and remain with the family throughout their journey.

The charity has set up regular inclusive groups and activities including gentle exercise, walking, reading, arts and crafts and a monthly sing along … everyone can join in these groups so that people living with dementia and their carers can take part, meet people, and make new friends.

Liz Hitchins, Chairman, thanked everyone who had contributed to the success of the charity over the years growing from an idea of a small group of local people into a charity with a national and international reputation. 

On this occasion the charity also marked the retirement of the Coordinator Maxine Kennedy who has been involved since the start and has been key to the success of the project.  

Maxine reflected on how important it is for carers to be supported by the community on their journey looking after a loved one living with dementia.