A church in Newtown has become the first to be awarded the designation, “Working to become Dementia Friendly” by the Diocese of St Asaph.
All Saints Church was announced as the first in the Diocese by its newly appointed Dementia Support Officer, Revd Dr Bob Friedrich.
Last October, the Diocese received the designation of “Dementia Friendly” from the Alzheimer’s Society which permits the Diocese to award the certification to its qualifying churches. St Asaph is only the second Anglican Diocese in the UK to receive the designation “Dementia Friendly and the first in Wales.
Bob Friedrich said: “I’m very proud of All Saints. They have put much effort into making their church and community dementia friendly. I’m delighted that they are the first of my churches in the Diocese of St Asaph to earn the Dementia Friendly designation and to make a real difference in their town.
“As the Diocese of St Asaph’s new and first Dementia Support Officer, it’s my job to help and advise churches who want to become more dementia friendly. Newtown is the first of a number of church communities across North East and Mid Wales making the necessary steps to support people with dementia, their families and carers.”
All Saints’ Church has recently appointed two Dementia contacts: Jean Winchester and Christina Connell. Along with the Rector of All Saints, the Revd Nia Wyn Morris, they are working with others to hold interactive, dementia friendly afternoons called Celebrating the Seasons involving memorabilia from the 1950’s.
Nia Wyn Morris said: “All Saints Church has in some ways been a dementia friendly church for many years with outreach to the residential homes and day centre under the care of Jean Winchester and Christina Connell and other pastoral volunteers. Home visits to many who have dementia is catered for by a team of dedicated Pastoral Assistants led by Wendy Gardner.
“Receiving this award has encouraged us as a Church to be even more aware of those with restrictions in life – especially those with Dementia and their carers. We have been encouraged to make links with other organisations who provide support for those with dementia.
“We have also committed ourselves to organising a series of special events at our Church called Celebrating the Seasons. These are occasions for fellowship, sharing and reminiscing and they are really enjoyable, providing fun and care for both us as organisers and for those who attend.
“It is very true that we gain more from those who attend than we can possibly provide for them.”
The next Celebrating the Seasons event at All Saints will take place on the 10th February and is entitled Panto – Snow – Pancakes.
The first Anglican Diocese to be awarded the status of “Working to become a Dementia Friendly Diocese” by the Alzheimer’s Society was the Diocese of Lichfield in the Church of England.