On these pages we will be writing about the events that take place at the Centre and from time to time
we will record our thoughts about matters that affect us - whether for good or ill.
If you would like to contribute to this blog, or comment on posts that others
have written then email us and let us know what you think!
Why we should all Give and Take Care
Over 60 Voluntary groups from across the Borough came together last Wednesday (November 16) for a special evening
of networking at Loddon Hall in Twyford. The Borough Mayor, Cllr Bob Pitts, hosted the event, which is held annually
to thank the voluntary sector, and used the evening to introduce Professor Heinz Wolff, an internationally renowned
scientist, inventor and broadcaster, who has introduced a Give and Take Care project to support the UK's 'Long Term
Care Revolution' programme.
Give and Take Care has a bold ambition: to solve the challenge of how affordable and human centred care can be
provided in an age of increasing demand due to an ageing population. The idea is based on the idea of 'mutual exchange'
where volunteers ‘Give and Take Care’ by supporting or caring for an older person in their community with charities
and voluntary groups helping to recruit those who will contribute to, and benefit from, the scheme.
Cllr Pitts, Borough Mayor said: "Helping others through volunteering has long been known to benefit the care-giver
as well as those receiving the care. This reciprocal scheme means that volunteers would be assured of receiving care
if/when they eventually require it themselves. I wish Professor Wolff and his team every success."
Dementia Friends goes global – having an impact in Nigeria
Dementia Friends Nigeria recently launched with the help and support of Alzheimer's Society in the UK.
Here Kiki, founder of Dementia Friends Nigeria and Rossetti Care Ltd, tells us more about the impact the programme
is having in Nigeria and how Alzheimer's Society is helping countries around the world to launch Dementia Friends.
She knelt down, sobbing uncontrollably and muttering, "Please, God forgive me! Baba, please forgive me, please
help me, I did not know, I did not understand…..!"
That was a month ago, and this is her story:
Her father's decline was rapid and the villagers became aware of it before she did because she worked in the
city and only visited once or twice a year. The symptoms according to her were: he talked to ghosts; he would
disappear into the forest for days, and when found, he would be naked, dirty and bloodied; he never slept;
he spoke in tongues, and was verbally and physically abusive towards everybody including family members.
There were whispers of witchcraft and madness in the village.
"I felt shame. I practically disowned him, as I stopped visiting him altogether. He died within the year,
and all I felt was great relief and release – all mine. It is now almost 10 years after his death. I now know
that he must have had Dementia. My new knowledge came too late to help my father, but I can help others. Now I
wonder why I never once stopped to consider how Baba felt. All that was on my mind then was how nobody would marry me,
because of how he made me and the family look to the entire village!"
The woman is now a very active and vocal Dementia Friends Champion.
Alzheimer's Society has been working closely with countries like Nigeria to help launch Dementia Friends
around the globe, from assisting with the resources that need to be developed, through to marketing advice,
operations guidance and other important aspects of the programme. Alzheimer's Society is committed to creating a
global Dementia Friends movement, and helping to spread understanding and social action worldwide.
Prior to the launch of Dementia Friends Nigeria, many people from across communities in Nigeria were taken
through the Dementia Friends Champions resources; from chiefs of entire villages and religious leaders to those
who work in schools and hospitals. Each person was tasked with creating 100 Dementia Friends.
As of 16th February, Nigeria has 67,755 Dementia Friends! Nigeria has a population of over 186 million –
about 2.5% of the world’s population. There is a long way to go, but this is a very encouraging start.
It was one of those Victor Meldrew moments when I saw the story in Monday's newspaper. "I don't believe it!"
I muttered, as I peered over my glasses and shook my head. It was only a few paragraphs, tucked away in the
corner of a page, yet it was enough to give me "the Meldrews".
You wouldn't think that the humble fish finger could have prompted such a reaction, but it seems that
in the 21st century this staple of childhood teatimes, which was first landed on Britain's fair shores 60
years ago, has now come to symbolise a deficient diet of food knowledge.
According to a survey carried out by Rowse Honey, a fifth of young adults between the ages of 16 and 24,
believe that these crumb-coated fishy favourites are indeed the fingers of fish!
The study, involving 2,000 people, has highlighted a poor menu of results, revealing an astonishing lack
of awareness about where our food comes from. Fifteen per cent of those questioned didn't realise that
sheep provide us with lamb, or that pork chops come from pigs. Thirty-five per cent didn't know that veal
was from cows. Honey proved to be a very sticky subject, which confused many of the participants.
Twenty-five per cent wondered if wasps made it, while 12 per cent were certain that obtaining honey
involved squeezing bees! A further 15 per cent thought that bees produced syrup.
Returning to those fish fingers, if you like to accompany yours with chips or soft, buttery mash then be
warned, because nine per cent of people surveyed believed that potatoes grew on trees. Oh dear! If you
"read inwardly and digest" these results, it's enough to give you a serious case of indigestion.
What would Sir Walter Raleigh and Captain Birdseye make of it? Contrast these meagre rations of food knowledge
with the over-generous portions of cookery programmes and books that are constantly served up. Bizarre isn't it?
Some of those taking part in the survey (25 per cent) admitted that they were embarrassed by their lack of
knowledge and cited buying food from supermarkets and eating ready meals as the major reasons for their shortcomings.
This highlights, yet again, the importance of teaching children to cook, whether at home or school, so that
they can produce simple, healthy, wholesome meals from fresh produce and ingredients.
Just as crucial as the basic culinary skills, though, is a very real need for youngsters to be made aware
of the vital part that Britain's farmers and our agricultural industry play in our everyday lives. All too
often they are overlooked when we should support them and champion their contribution.
It is marvellous to see the work that inner city farms do in offering children in urban areas the chance
to experience working with animals, as well as planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables. Similarly, any
scheme that nurtures an early interest in gardening, so that children realise that fruit and vegetables do
grow in the soil, rather than in tins or on supermarket shelves, is to be applauded. Now that is what
I call truly nourishing!
It all began with Peter Rabbit. Then, along came Squirrel Nutkin, who was followed by The Tailor
of Gloucester. Benjamin Bunny then appeared, closely pursued by Two Bad Mice and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.
These were later joined by the likes of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten and many more. This menagerie
of characters was, of course, created by the author, illustrator and naturalist Beatrix Potter who
enlivened so many children's early years with her charming animal stories.
The magic that she brought to young readers continues to weave its spell into adulthood, and the
fascination with the author and her work remains. Millions of people throughout the world,
who grew up reading Beatrix's books, go on to visit her beloved Lake District and to see her
cottage in the village of Near Sawrey.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Beatrix's birth, so it was no surprise that the news
of a previously unpublished Potter story generated much interest earlier this week. The Tale of
Kitty-in-Boots will be published in September making it the 24th in her series of delightful
While a cat provided the inspiration for Beatrix's latest tale, we should not forget the
incredible story of a canine hero who saved England from sporting embarrassment. The dog, a
four-year-old Collie named Pickles, retrieved the World Cup trophy, which was stolen while on
display before the tournament held in England in 1966.
Thanks to Pickles coming to the rescue, the trophy was recovered in time for the victorious
England team to hold it aloft, in front of thousands of cheering fans, at Wembley exactly 50 years ago
on 30th July. If it hadn't been for Pickles and his dogged (sorry!) detective work, you can't help
wondering what the organisers would have done.
If anybody has more to tell about Pickles, please let us have the information, so that we can
share the story more widely.
With an ever increasing older population in England, it is becoming more and more important for the
general public to learn about Dementia. Dementia affects people in many ways and is often not recognised
by members of the public. One may encounter a person struggling with finding the correct money in a
checkout queue or with working out a bus timetable or something; they may be struggling to do so as they
could have a form of Dementia.
Most people become irritated by the slowness of these people, instead by showing a bit of understanding
and even assistance, which could benefit everybody.
A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns
that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. Whether you attend a face-to-face
Dementia Friends Information Session or watch our online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more
about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about Dementia Friends to visiting
someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.
Dementia Friends Information Sessions are run by volunteer Dementia Friends Champions,
who are trained and supported by Alzheimer's Society. Each Information Session lasts around one hour.
You will learn more about dementia and how you can help to create dementia friendly communities.
There are information sessions running across England and Wales.
You can also become a Dementia Friend by watching an online video where you will meet Gina who is
living with dementia and learn more about what it is like to live with the condition. Once you have
watched the video you can sign up for your 'Little Book of Friendship', a resource pack which contains
more information and tips on how you can support those living with dementia to feel a part of our communities.
The BBC has published an interesting article today (4 March) by Justin Parkinson,
'Why has suicide declined among older people in the UK?'. The article includes the following:
"We are much more concerned with older people, and therefore people are not made so lonely,"
adds Pickering, who is 93. He says better medical care and social services and clubs aimed at keeping
people involved in society have helped. "I sometimes think of how my father was when he was ill about
40 years ago and how isolated he was then and how much better it is now compared with then."