A day to make a difference

Local health staff are taking a day out of their normal routine to give a day centre for local people with dementia a facelift.

The dementia group which meets in Armley Grange House five days a week uses a listed building, built in 1801 as a mill owner’s residence. The centre currently has peeling paint work, bland walls and an overgrown garden, not good for anyone’s health let alone young people with dementia and their carers.

Samantha Jenkinson, Home and Day Support Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Leeds said “We are proud of our service and we want the environment to be homely, stimulating and safe, a place where people feel happy and valued. Giving the facilities a makeover will help our services users achieve wellbeing, independent living and the dignity they deserve”.

The ground floor of the building currently provides day support to 15 people under the age of 65 every day and the community service supports another 22 younger people with dementia, giving them access to meaningful activities in the local community, social interaction, friendship, information and support.

Staff from NHS West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit (WSYB CSU) work across Leeds to support the three Leeds clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – NHS Leeds West CCG, NHS Leeds South and East CCG and NHS Leeds North CCG.

The team of ten staff are planning on rolling up their sleeves and painting, gardening, and doing whatever else they can in a day to make the building brighter, safer and more stimulating. At the end of the hard day’s work the team will hold a special tea party with the service users to show them the transformation.

The group is appealing for donations of materials such as paint and brushes, plants or pictures for the walls or money to buy materials. They would also welcome any local people who could help on the day or even provide lunch for the workers.

Fundraising for the project has been going on over the last few weeks at the NHS Leeds South and East CCG buildings in Thorpe Park with a cake sale and a dress down day with staff paying for the privilege of spending the day at work in their onesies!

Linzi Kendall, Sustainability Lead at WSYBCSU explains:

“It’s important for us to be involved with our local communities, as we’re committed to being a socially responsible employer, and we have planned a series of community challenges to try to give something back to local people. It’s great that we can work on such a valuable resource for people who we know can be isolated because of their dementia. This underlines how important our communities are to the NHS, and how we can help to build resilience within them.”

The project is part of the Business in the Community movement which engages with thousands of businesses in the country to allow staff to volunteer to donate time and skills during work hours to tackle local social issues, an effective and powerful way for businesses to invest in their people and local communities