DFP – Head Script

Foundation Friday – In Touch Dementia Group

2nd March 2018 | 3:08 pm

By Leanne Flynn

Michael and Margaret Walters and their friend Christine

To celebrate the work of our official charity Leeds Rhinos Foundation each Friday we will highlight some of the work they do to help change the lives of people in our community using the power of sport.  This week we look at their programme to support people in Leeds living with dementia.

WP – In Article MPU

To celebrate the work of our official charity Leeds Rhinos Foundation each Friday we will highlight some of the work they do to help change the lives of people in our community using the power of sport.  This week we look at their programme to support people in Leeds living with dementia.

Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s In Touch programme is run in partnership with the Leeds Peer Support Service, and is a free monthly service for people living with dementia.  The charity holds sessions at Emerald Headingley for people to come along and enjoy afternoons of reliving fond memories of Rugby League.

The meetings, supported by Peer Support Coordinators from Leeds City Council, offer the groups a chance to bring in and discuss historic memorabilia, take a tour of the stadium, see club trophies first hand and take part in engaging discussion with peers also living with the condition.

Guest speakers are invited to come along such as former players and each session focuses on a different rugby theme.  Past meetings have looked at the history of Leeds as well as other local teams, including Dewsbury RLFC when former referee Bernard Shooman came along to share photographs, old jerseys and player contracts.

Recently the In Touch group took a trip away from Emerald Headingley to enjoy a screening of Singin’ In The Rain at Hyde Picture House.  The screening was the first in a new season of matinees at the Picture House which have been designed to be inclusive to those living with dementia as well as family members and carers. It is rooted in the idea that a trip to the cinema is a powerful way for people to reconnect with memories.

Members of the charity’s Rhinos Active Social Group also went along to the matinee and Michael Walters said it was a wonderful trip down memory lane, “It’s a great building and I’m glad it’s being used to its full potential.  I used to go to the matinées each Saturday there as a child and have some lovely memories of it, we grew up around the corner so good to go back and visit.”

His wife Margaret also joined him along with their friend Christine: “We loved the performance, it really took me back to my youth, it’s great to take a trip down memory lane. We loved the Hollywood glamour of (the film) it all, we were tap dancing down the street afterwards! Looking forward to the next one and we hope it gets the support it deserves and continues!”

Christine added: “It’s a great idea to run these adapted sessions, it was no different to a usual screening but nice to have an interval to have a cuppa refill.  The film choice was fab and took us back to the first time we ever watched the film – happy memories! I’m unsure I’ve ever watched it all the way through without distraction, was lovely to spend the afternoon enjoying it! They don’t make film stars like that anymore!”

Laura Buckle, Health Improvement Officer at Leeds Rhinos Foundation said: “For people living with dementia and their carers the disease can be all encompassing to their lives and we have found that our In Touch sessions are really welcomed by those that attend as it gives them chance to speak to others in similar situations and also to focus on something else and enjoy fond shared memories.  We work hard to provide interesting and varied sessions and we are grateful to the guest speakers and those who have shared their own memorabilia for the sessions.

“The visit to the Picture House was a big hit with the group and they put on a fantastic event.  The adapted screening of the film meant that the cinema was better lit during the screening, there was an interval and the sound was altered which is really important as there may be an element those living with dementia that find difficult it when accessing usual cinema screenings.  This is something as a charity we are working with Leeds Rhinos on as they work towards making Emerald Headingley a dementia friendly stadium and many of the staff have already completed dementia friendly training.”

The ‘In Touch’ Club is accessible via referrals to the Leeds City Council’s Peer Support Service directly, for more information CLICK HERE

 

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