Letchworth housing association starts club for people with dementia

Macfadyen Webb House residents, Howard Cottage staff, Nutritionist Helen Rae and Kingfisher Club mem

Macfadyen Webb House residents, Howard Cottage staff, Nutritionist Helen Rae and Kingfisher Club members marked the opening of the new club with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the sunshine. Picture: Howard Cottage Housing Association - Credit: Archant

A new dementia club has been launched in Letchworth by a housing association in a bid to tackle poor nutritional intake and social isolation, and to offer well-deserved breaks to carers.

Howard Cottage Housing Association has begun running a second Kingfisher Club in the town for people with low to moderate dementia, and is looking for new members and volunteers.

Macfadyen Webb House sheltered housing scheme is the home of the latest club, which is being held every Thursday.

Home support officer Rachel Horne said: “Our clubs are very popular because they give members something to look forward to and provide a welcome break for their carers.

“Our new club is a lot of fun and we’re looking for volunteers to help us run it by doing things like meeting and greeting members, chatting to them and guiding them through the various activities.

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“Volunteers can attend for the whole day or just part of it – we’re very flexible!”

Each week members will take part in a range of activities designed to sharpen the mind, strengthen bodies and keep spirits high.

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Scheme manager Sue Williams said: “We use a person-centred approach, tailoring activities to members’ interests, abilities, history and personality. This gives members a sense of enjoyment and positive self-esteem.”

According to Howard Cottage, social isolation and poor nutritional intake often go hand in hand among older people. To tackle both issues the housing association has teamed up with NHDC active communities manager Helen Rae, who is piloting a programme called ‘Nourish’ at the two Letchworth-based clubs.

The club also received some funding from Letchworth’s Heritage Foundation.

Howard Cottage now has a total of four Kingfisher clubs – two in Letchworth, one in Baldock and one in Hitchin.

The Macfadyen Webb House Kingfisher group meet on a Thursday from 10am until 3pm, and sessions cost £15.

To find out more about the specific clubs, including membership and volunteering opportunities – or if you feel you need a Kingfisher club in your area – contact Howard Cottage’s supported housing manager Helen Cairns on 01462 683307.

You can also visit howard-cottage.co.uk/dementia-clubs.

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