Croquet - the new way to tackle dementia - picture: Stoke Damerel Community College.
Plymouth is a national and global leader when it comes to tackling dementia. That's quite a bold statement but it is true.
Last week I spoke at the Plymouth Dementia Conference about Labour's policy towards social care and dementia. There are clear differences between the parties when it comes to social care, the NHS and care for those with dementia and it was a good chance to discuss the different options available at the election.
One of the most inspiring moments of the conference was hearing from Carol Hannaford and Lana Helmore from Stoke Damerel Community College about their pioneering dementia work, integrating knowledge about dementia across the curriculum.
Yesterday I got a chance to see some of this pioneering work for myself at the school's monthly JiminyWicket croquet session. The idea is simple: bring together Year 7 students and those with dementia to share stories, play croquet and develop common bonds. It is a way of breaking down the stigma attached to dementia.
Head Teacher Carol Hannaford and myself played croquet with Andrew and James and Year 7 students
Having spent years playing hockey, I must admit not to being a natural croquet player but the students and the senior citizens certainly were and it was an incredible experience seeing this in action.
Hats off to the team at JiminyWicket who created such a simple concept - croquet for those with dementia. The kit costs £1,500 and this is money well spent. Having seen this first hand, I'm convinced this is an initiative worth promoting and sharing.
Plymouth and dementia
Plymouth is a national leader when it comes to tackling dementia. Our academic research is first class but it is the practical applications, inspiring projects and inspirational leadership that is really making a big difference to those with dementia.
The work of Stoke Damerel Community College and JiminyWicket is really pioneering. Seeing the students and the senior citizens playing, laughing and talking together showed how important this initiative is. The stigma attached to dementia is something directly challenged by playing croquet together and it also provides an opportunity for the children to understand how better to relate to their own family members with dementia.
It's great to see Plymouth leading the way when it comes to tackling dementia. The work of Stoke Damerel is inspirational. I hope other schools across the country look at what is being achieved here and replicate it.
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