Friends with Dementia, our free-of-charge support service in Woking held two extremely successful events designed to promote dementia awareness and support within the community.
The first event, organised by Sreepana Roy, the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Outreach Worker from Friends with Dementia, was a Henna workshop for dementia carers. This event provided the opportunity for carers to get together, talk, share experiences and support each other in a fun and friendly environment.
One carer, Rekha commented “This event was a lovely, informal get-together for women. The henna artist was brilliant. This workshop was a great medium to get all women from different cultures to talk to each other. We found it very relaxing.” Another carer, Fatima encouraged other women to get involved too, “It is worth giving it a try!” whilst Candy recognised a real need for events such as this; “I hope we can have some more events like this in the future.”
The second event was a two-day awareness raising workshop for Bangladeshi women in the region. Nine ladies and six children participated in the event which was facilitated by Sreepana in Bengali, the language of the community.
It was an experiential day which combined awareness raising with memory related activities. The participating ladies, brought their own Henna and craft needles to take part in a specially run craft session. The day then evolved into role play sessions where the ladies were confronted with what it would feel like to forget fundamental aspects of their culture like how to knit traditional blanket patterns or create the Henna patterns for Eid. This was a very poignant example of the agony experienced by dementia sufferers.
Sreepana Roy, Friends with Dementia, commented, “Raising awareness of dementia in the community is extremely important and I am so pleased that the ladies who took part found the event beneficial and rewarding. Different cultures treat dementia in different ways and people need to know and understand what the symptoms are and what support and services are available to them. I am looking forward to extending the reach of our work to the local Chinese community too.”