A letter from David Cameron has given the cook at the Woodlands Park care centre in Great Missenden hope that she may still get to cook for the Prime Minister in the future, with a promise that he ‘will definitely try to visit should an opportunity arise’.
Gina Doherty, who is the cook at Woodlands Park, was named as the one millionth ‘Dementia Friend’ in an event in February, which she attended with manager, Marie Shouler, at which they met and spoke to Mr Cameron. Following his comment that care homes are not known for their cuisine, Gina wrote to 10 Downing Street with an open invitation for him to come and sample their delicious food for himself.
A hand-signed letter has arrived t Wednesday 11 March 2015 from Mr Cameron explaining that he in unable to commit at this time, but hopes to visit should an opportunity arise in the future.
“I’d imagine he will be rather tied up planning for the general election in May, so it is quite understandable that he can’t make it at the moment, but it is lovely that he has said that he’ll try to visit in the future,” says Gina. “I won’t offer to keep something warm for him, as we cook everything fresh each day here, but if his election campaign trail brings him back to our neck of the woods, I’ll be happy to whip something up for him!”
Altzheimer’s research – a subject very close to those working at Woodlands Park – is already high on the political agenda, with a recent government announcement of more than £300 million to be devoted to research on dementia over the next five years.
“Everyone who works with people living with dementia will welcome this money, as it is a terribly debilitating condition which now affects around 850,000 in this country alone, but equally important is in educating people about how to spot signs of dementia at an early stage, and also how to interact with those living with the condition,” adds Marie. “Many of our staff and relatives of residents are now signed up as ‘Dementia Friends’ and it is wonderful that Gina is officially the one millionth Dementia Friend. We hope that this will inspire others to follow suit to make life easier for people with dementia.”
Indeed, Marie has been spearheading her own campaign within Great Missenden to make the village more dementia friendly, inviting independent retailers to Woodlands Park to learn about simple steps they can take to make their businesses more dementia friendly. Marie was recently shortlisted for a national award in recognition of her services to dementia care.