A Ballymena and Antrim Men’s Friendship Group, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, have launched their plans for a ‘garden room’ innovation project.
As the first step in their plans the group, who all have dementia, officially opened their log cabinon land at Ferrard House, Antrim.
The group will meet weekly or fortnightly at the cabin to develop their plans for the project, as well as keeping a photo diary. The group are also currently looking at linking in with local schools to raise awareness of dementia and reduce stigma through the project.
Musician Roy Arbuckle provided entertainment at the launch, which was attended by staff from the Northern Health Trust, local councillors, Alzheimer’s Society staff and volunteers.
The launch has been held on Dementia Awareness Week, where people are being encouraged to ‘stop bottling up’ their fears and concerns about dementia and contact the Alzheimer’s Society for help and support.
There are currently 5,198 people with dementia in the Northern Trust area.
John McErlane, a member of the men’s friendship group, said: “This project means a lot to us. We worked on two projects previously– we produced a dvd and created a photography exhibition – and this new project is something else for us to aim to and to feel proud of.
Wilma McIlroy, from Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The group are keen to show that people with dementia, with a little support, can still achieve a lot and hope to encourage and inspire others. The programme promotes the ethos of not ‘doing for’ but ‘doing with’ as the people with dementia themselves will be primary in designing and developing their own project.”
“We met in the cabin for the first time last week and it was fantastic to see the excitement of everyone involved.”