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Sixth Form are Dementia Friendly

Sixth Form are Dementia Friendly

Sixth form students at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School took part in a local history and dementia awareness project as part of their Curriculum Enrichment Week. Together Housing collaborated with Dementia Friendly Rossendale and the Lancashire Cricket League’s heritage project to tutor students about dementia and how it affects people’s lives.

The information was complimented by Tony Jameson-Allen, the founder of the National Sporting Memories Foundation, who delivered an inspiring tutorial which emphasised the health benefits of discussing sport memories. Tony Jameson-Allen’s contribution was a real coup for Together Housing’s collaborative project.

15 sixth form students volunteered for the project, giving them the opportunity to develop their interviewing skills whilst capturing the memories of older residents in Rossendale. Project co-ordinator, Dr Jane Jackson, commented: “There was a real buzz in the room during the interviews. The interviewing of local residents was an aspect that the students particularly enjoyed.” Interviewee Neal Wilkinson, former first eleven Captain and Chairman of Bacup Cricket Club agreed: “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their involvement.”

The interviews were a springboard for research into aspects of local history which was represented in the design of posters on the themes of sport, education, transport and family/social life. The posters will be used to spark memories and a sense of well-being for local people living with dementia, and as a record of social history. Saima Mubeen of Together Housing described the project as “a huge success. The students have created a legacy which will continue for years to come.”

Brian Heywood, manager of the Lancashire League’s heritage project said that the film Cricketers All, about the 1949 local Derby between Rawtenstall and Bacup before a crowd of 10,000 at Rawtenstall’s Bacup Road Ground, made quite an impression on the students: “They had no idea that cricket has, for decades, been a way of life for so many people in the Rossendale valley, or that matches were real family occasions. They were amazed that some of the best cricketers in the world, such as Everton Weekes, Vijay Hazare and George Tribe, had represented their local clubs. They were struck by the strong sense of community that has been diluted over the years.”

Brian Topping, Chairman of Dementia Friendly Rossendale, praised the students as “a credit to the school; a credit to the team within which they worked; and a credit to themselves. Their talent clearly shone through to all who attended the presentations.”

The week concluded with presentations by the students to an invited audience which included the Mayor of Rossendale, local councillors, and interviewees from earlier in the week. The template for the week is likely to be repeated at the school in the future, and the posters are a permanent resource to assist local people living with dementia.

 

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