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Council teams join forces to make Chichester 'dementia friendly'


People with dementia in the Chichester District are being given the chance to revisit their past and find out more about the support they can access, through an innovative programme of activities developed for Dementia Awareness Week (19-23 May).

Chichester Careline, The Novium Museum and Chichester Wellbeing Team - all services provided by Chichester District Council - have been working with MIND to further support those with dementia and their carers.

The Novium Museum in Chichester is inviting those with dementia and their carers to access free dementia friendly tours on Tuesday 22 May between 12pm and 2pm. The tours help to improve peoples' wellbeing and in some cases trigger old memories. Guests will be given the chance to hold museum objects and talk about their memories of them- from Oxo boxes to 1960s clothing. People can either book in advance by emailing or turn up on the day.

The council will also be running free dementia awareness training for staff, councillors, local businesses and residents, in its bid to make Chichester 'dementia friendly'. The session will run on Tuesday 22 May from 11am until 12pm at The Novium Museum. Places can be booked by emailing or popping into The Novium. The Community Wardens have already received training and are now ambassadors for the Purple Angel campaign. As part of their role they are helping others within the community to better understand the needs of those with dementia.

The charity MIND will also be holding a free special activity session with a man who makes and plays the 'hurdy gurdy' at The Novium. The session, which is aimed at those with dementia and their carers, will take place between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesday 22 May. The hurdy gurdy is a medieval musical instrument dating back to the 11th century. Bob Bravington will explain how he painstakingly constructed a replica hurdy gurdy, using many authentic materials. The session will be followed by tea, coffee and cakes. Afterwards there will be the opportunity to look around the museum and find out about other local support services. For further information, or to book a place, please phone Rayner on 07507 164859 or email

Chichester Careline will also be attending all three sessions to help make people aware of its work to support those with dementia. The centre is the only one in the country monitoring the Mindme device. Mindme is a small GPS device that can be attached to your house keys, placed in your bag, or can even be worn around your neck. If you become lost or disorientated, you can be located through a dedicated website by your family, or Chichester Careline - regardless of where you are in Europe (as long as you are attached to a mobile network). Chichester Careline also offers the device with a button that enables you to speak directly to the centre if you feel unwell or you need help. It has made a big difference to those with dementia - providing them with their independence and freedom - and has already saved lives.

Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Community Services at Chichester District Council said,

"Dementia is a cruel disease that affects thousands of people across our area. It is vital that we work with our local communities to raise awareness of the support that exists for both the person with dementia and their carer. This is why Dementia Awareness Week is so important.

"Along with MIND, we have arranged a series of activities to support those with dementia and their carers at our Novium Museum and offer a signposting service to further support. We have also arranged training, which is not only targeted at our own staff, but also other organisations and individuals who would find it use

"We are also highlighting the incredible work that our Chichester Careline service does to help those with dementia. Their Mindme alarm has already helped to save lives, while allowing the person with dementia the chance to retain their independence and freedom.

"Nationally, the Alzheimer's Society has launched its dementia friends' campaign. We are proud to support this too and would encourage as many people as possible to sign up."