A weekly ‘open door’ support and social group for people with dementia and their carers has been awarded a “surprise” £5000.
The funding will allow the group, Berwick and District Friends of Dementia Active Mind and Body, to widen the range of available activities for a full 12 months and help with transport to ensure the inclusion of dementia sufferers living in remote areas.
Engage Mutual customer Linda Sneddon applied for the funding from the Mutual’s Foundation, which has set aside £1m as an exclusive benefit for its customers to make their lives and communities better.
Although only Engage Mutual customers can nominate a community project for funding from the Engage Foundation, the public are encouraged to show their support via an online vote, with winning projects decided by the highest number of votes.
When the winners of the final round of community funding for 2014 were announced last month, the Berwick group unfortunately just missed out. But the Engage Foundation Advisory Panel - a panel made up of customers - decided to pool remaining funds from the year to create an additional community award.
Following a panel vote, Linda was overjoyed to be told that the Berwick and District Friends of Dementia Active Mind and Body project would receive the valuable £5,000 funding after all.
She said: “This has come as a huge surprise and a tremendous boost for us all.
“We run a weekly support and social group for people with dementia – and their carers – and this award means we can introduce a range of dementia-friendly activities such as art and craft sessions as well as music and movement, all known to be beneficial to dementia sufferers.”
She added: “There is a dearth of dementia-specific support groups in and around Berwick aimed at those living with early to moderate stage dementia.
“In addition, there is very little public transport suitable for people with dementia, and now we can help those vulnerable people who otherwise cannot use public transport, attend the session through use of community transport and volunteer drivers, offering much more flexibility and scope.
“This is really important because we’re located in a remote rural area and so operate an open door policy, welcoming people from both sides of the English/Scottish border.”
As a mutual organisation, Engage is owned by, and run for, its customers.
The Engage Foundation was set up to provide customers with personal grants, and awards for community projects.
Customers can apply to help what matters to them in their corner of the world (the communities in which they live). All customers need to do to be considered, is apply.
The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.
Nigel Hunter, Head of Community at Engage Mutual, said: “When we set up the Engage Foundation earlier on in the year we did so with one overriding objective: to enable customers to benefit from the financial success of their business.
“We think it’s great to be able to help a community project or a good cause that our customers feel passionate about.
“We wish everyone at the Berwick and District Friends of Dementia all the very best with their valuable work and will enjoy catching up with the group to see how the funds help them improve things for local sufferers of dementia and their carers and families.”
He added: “And if there are others in the Berwick area, both individuals seeking personal grants and community groups looking for funding, then all they need to do is visit www.engagemutual.com/foundation.”
Berwick and District Friends of Dementia runs a weekly support and social group for people with dementia and their carers, and will use the additional funding to introduce a range of dementia friendly activities such as art/craft sessions, music and physical activities.
It aims to create a stimulating environment for people with dementia and carers through increased mental and physical wellbeing, enrich lives and strengthen relationships.
The community award will allow Berwick & District Friends of Dementia to use appropriately skilled group workers to facilitate twice monthly sessions and buy suitable resources for the sessions.