On Saturday 16th May, we took our craft stall to the city of Wells in Somerset. Wells, if you don’t know, is famous for its beautiful Cathedral, and for being the setting of Sandford in Hot Fuzz. Fame aside, it’s a beautiful place, and we signed up for the event at the Lawrence centre for that reason.
We knew the event was a charity fundraiser but didn’t know an awful lot about the work that went on at the Lawrence Centre until we arrived.
MakeArt’s stall at the Lawrence Centre, Wells
It turns out that the Lawrence centre is a kind of day centre for people suffering from dementia, with the aim of allowing their carers, be they friends or family members, some valuable rest time.
Dementia has touched both of our families here at MakeArt, as I’m sure it must have done yours. Medicine is slowly learning how to keep our bodies around for longer, but for many, the awful conditions that affect the mind with age are becoming more and more common.
Sian’s grandmother sadly passed away a few years ago after being afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. I have two grandparents suffering with different kinds of dementia.
We all care for our loved ones when they’re ill, and when they get older, of course we do. But we don’t always realise the toll it takes on our own lives. Here at MakeArt, we know what it means to work all day every day, but add to that the emotional turmoil of watching someone you love suffer and erode, and there’s no comparison.
What the Lawrence Centre provides is valuable rest time for carers, along with the peace of mind that their loved ones are safe, in the capable hands of Maggie and her team.
Dementia Care in Wells
Wells, like much of the West Country, has a large older population, which means that the effects of Dementia are more widespread. There is a campaign under way to make Wells a Dementia Friendly City, which will mean training for shop owners, bus drivers and other professionals who deal with the public, to help them spot the signs of someone in distress, and to know what to do to help.
However, the campaign is facing an uphill struggle because the local council is cutting funding for dementia care as a result of continued austerity measures passed down by central government. Members of the community are working to petition local government and raise funds to help keep care going. Political statements aside (don’t get me started!) it’s simply not fair that the ill should suffer more just to balance the books. That good people are willing to give their time and love to help with what is a terribly difficult job is inspiring.
As Britain’s population ages, initiatives like this will no-doubt begin to happen everywhere. We were touched though, to see the dedication of the people we met in Wells, and I wanted to write this blog to help in what little way we can.