Dementia meeting center is a first for Ayrshire as new support service opens doors

A new support base for those living with dementia is to provide an Ayrshire first after opening its doors in Prestwick.

The ‘Meeting Centre’ – a social club for people with early to moderate forms of the condition – will also offer help to family members.

The Dementia Friendly Prestwick group is behind the scheme, having secured funding from the Life Changes Trust, the Scottish Government’s communities recovery fund, and Voluntary Action South Ayrshire.

A safe haven will be provided where both people with dementia (members) and carers can adapt to living with the condition.

The team hope their prominent location within the historic RAFA Club will hope to support as many people as possible.

Prof Ian Welsh OBE, chair of Dementia Friendly Prestwick, said: “The Life Changes Trust legacy award recognizes that our local work over the years has national resonance.

“That change begins, to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, “in small places, close to home” and that small committed local groups can change the world they live in.”

Trustee Julie Twaddell added: “We have been running activities and events in Prestwick for almost six years, from our cinema afternoons to walks along the promenade.

“We adapted to the circumstances the pandemic brought and started to deliver our Bags of Support – lunches and activity packs – which was a lifeline to many local people.

“A resource like this is sorely needed, we know. It will be an honor to open the doors of the RAFA Club.

“Our meeting center aims to be a source of expert support for everyone impacted by a diagnosis of dementia.”

Sessions will run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with everything from advice to peer support on offer in a relaxed atmosphere.

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The center will be the first of its kind to open on the west coast of Scotland.

Volunteer Julie Brown said: “As the daughter of someone who lived with dementia and a health and social care worker supporting people with dementia, I think the ethos of the meeting center is absolutely the way forward,

“People living with dementia are valued and supported in a way that is personal and individual to them, and most of all it’s fun.”

Kevin Dunlop, chair of the Royal Air Force Association Prestwick branch, added: “The RAFA Club are delighted to support Dementia Friendly Prestwick.

“The center is the first in the west of Scotland and will act as a hub for people living with dementia along with people who care for them.

“Many of our local community and our veterans live with dementia and I am really excited to be involved in bringing this much-needed new venture to South Ayrshire.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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