Garden centre fundraising helps Dementia Friendly Villages

The charity team at Otter Garden Centres Plymouth has announced the total raised for its charity of the year 2018.

Over £3,200 pounds was raised for Dementia Friendly Parishes Around the Yealm through raffles, face painting, a visit from woodturners and an animated singing penguin display.

Chair of the charity, Liz Hitchins said: “Everyone at Otter Garden Centres has been fantastic; they have been great friends to the charity and given us a lot of publicity. Nothing was too much trouble; they are true dementia friends.”

The charity, which has been running for seven years, involves five rural parishes located around the River Yealm that have committed to improving and changing the lives of people with dementia and their carers through a community-wide, inclusive initiative.

“Too often a diagnosis of dementia causes a person and their family to withdraw from life; our charity aims to support them in remaining active and involved in the community,” explained Liz.

Funds raised are used to finance a part-time project coordinator who visits those with dementia and their families to help them get involved in dementia friendly groups, including walking, ‘share reading’ groups, gentle exercise and arts and crafts.

“Our whole approach is one of inclusivity; all our activities are open to anyone from the local community. At Kitley House Hotel, for example, which we visit for afternoon tea, everyone chats together – it is simply a normal community event.”

Dementia Friendly Villages also raises awareness by giving talks to groups on how to help and communicate with a person with dementia and by producing informative leaflets. “All these enterprises are funded through donations from the public and businesses,” said Liz, who explained that during the past seven years the charity has provided support to more than 85 local families.

Otter Garden Centre Plymouth’s charity coordinator Adele Rundle added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all our staff and our customers for their donations.

“It is such a worthy cause because dementia can happen to any one of us or our family members at any time. This is a local charity that we do not hear much about and we are pleased to have been able to help them.”

For 2019 the branch is supporting another very local charity, Shekinah Mission, which works with teenagers and adults in Plymouth and Torbay to tackle homelessness and social exclusion.