Dementia week aims to break down fear

Words and photos by Dave Barry

A programme of events is being planned for dementia action week, from 21-26 May.

It is a great opportunity to help improve the lives of people with dementia, says Tim Kirkup, who chairs the Scarborough Dementia Action Alliance.

The key words are action and awareness, even though Scarborough has won an accolade for having the highest number of dementia ‘friends’ in North Yorkshire.

The aim is to encourage people with dementia to take part in activities in the town and stay involved with their community.

“There’s a lot of fear out there, which we’re trying to break down,” says Tim. “No one’s pretending that dementia is a fun disease to have, but life shouldn’t stop with diagnosis. With support from individuals and organisations, people with dementia can continue to do the things they have enjoyed, or try out new ones”.

Singing is a popular pastime. A singing group meets at South Cliff Methodist Church every Wednesday, from 1.30–3pm.

And there are regular opportunities to swim, play bowls, cycle, play walking football or enjoy café-and-reminiscence sessions.

The Stephen Joseph Theatre now runs dementia-friendly film screenings each month.

Over the last three years, many businesses and groups in Scarborough have undertaken sessions to explore how they might improve their services for people with dementia.

“The desire to understand and reach out is very positive and we’re building on this momentum all the time,” says Tim. “The alliance is helping to bring about a huge change in attitude in the community”.


Dementia action week event

To register for an activity, email or ring 07980 290266.


Mon 21 May

10-11am, Come and try supported swimming, Sports Village, £4.75/£3.50.


Tue 22 May

3pm, Cycling, meet at 11 Garth End Road in West Ayton, charge for use of an adapted bike.

3-4pm, Sporting memories, Sports Village, £3 to play.

4-5.30pm, Boccia (indoor bowls), Sports Village, £3 to play.


Wed 23 May

10am-3pm, Dementia Congress with speakers, a workshop and discussions, lunch provided, Rugby Club, free.

1.30-3pm, Singing for the Brain, South Cliff Methodist Church, free.


Thu 24 May

10-11am, walking football, Sports Village, £2.

10.30am, heritage tour of South Cliff gardens, free.

4.30pm, fun cycle and picnic, Dalby Forest, charge for use of an adapted bike, plus £4 forest admission.


Fri 25 May

2pm, heritage tour of South Cliff gardens, free.

2.45pm, Singing in the Rain film, Stephen Joseph Theatre, £5 (carer goes free).

4-5pm, Think with your feet, Sports Village, free.