Cranlea care home in Kingston Park, Newcastle is taking part in a pilot project which will create one of the first dementia friendly communities in Tyneside.

The £10,000 joint scheme between Cranlea and creative ageing charity Equal Arts, will bring together the community, schools, businesses and the care home residents in an effort to challenge  negative views and stigma often association with dementia.

Funding was secured from Awards for All by the Cranlea Benefit Funding Group, set up by relatives and staff to help provide better opportunities for residents.

A series of creative activities and sessions will be held at Cranlea to help raise awareness and understanding of dementia.

Cranlea Home Manager Lynn Day said: “We are delighted to have received this funding which will extend what is on offer for residents with these creative sessions seeing them discover skills they did not know they had or have the chance to revisit interests.”

Yesterday, families, staff and volunteers were joined by employees of Kenton Bar Marks & Spencer and Equal Arts’ artists at an event celebrating the official launch of the project.

Grahame Wallace, a relative volunteer and chairman of the Cranlea Benefit Funding Group, said: “The aim is to provide more activities for residents in their community and at Cranlea while raising understanding of dementia with companies in the area.

“We are over the moon to be handed this funding to create a dementia friendly community and more opportunities for residents. A lot of people have dementia and the Government is starting to look at what it can do and the issue is being recognised.”

Over the next 12 months Cranlea care staff will develop relationships with restaurants and nearby major retail outlets to support businesses’ understanding of dementia.

Douglas Hunter, director at Gateshead charity Equal Arts, which will support the training for retail staff, said: “Many people in care settings rarely have the opportunity to contribute to their wider community by building relationships with schools and local businesses.

“Using informal training for businesses we can help build confidence and help people recognise characteristics of dementia. Cranlea residents will take a leading role in the activities and training and make regular visits to the retail centre and restaurants to shop, have a coffee or a meal out just like everyone else.”

To find out more about the care provided at Cranlea, or how you can get involved in this project, please visit Cranlea page or call the home directly on 01914825859

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