The Living Well Project is a registered charity based at Newhills Parish Church and aims to improve the physical, emotional and social wellbeing for those who are socially isolated and also for those living with dementia and their carers. There is a Befriending Service which was set up in 2010 and the Living Well Cafés in 2015. The cafes operate in the church premises of Church of Scotland’s Ferryhill, High Hilton, Oldmachar and Newhills churches.
The Living Well Cafés wish to open their doors as soon as it is safe to do so but with funding cuts are predicting only a 3-4 month operation period remaining. The management committee is concerned and yet is hopeful for the future.
Dr. Daniel Bennett, Convenor of The Living Well Project said, ‘With statutory funding no longer available we have to look at exploring more specific funding opportunities. There has been an ‘ad hoc’ approach to securing funding, but we have now appointed a sub-team to develop grant applications for longer term funding. We are hopeful that the situation will improve’.
The four Living Well Cafés in Aberdeen offer a safe and welcoming environment for those living with dementia and their carers. Jeanette Abel and Linda Rendall run all four cafés and said, ‘We signpost people to organisations that can provide a service or help in practical ways. We offer a variety of activities at the cafés with a strong emphasis on music. We encourage people to sing and dance, focusing on what people can do rather than what they are no longer able to do, for example we start our sessions with chair-based exercises and people do what they are physically able to do – and with lots of laughter’.
Here are some comments from the café users:
comment by an unpaid carer accompanying her husband who lives with dementia.
‘the cafés provide a pleasant, caring and happy place where those living with dementia/memory loss, and their carers, can relax and have a bit of fun. Mum and I look forward to our weekly visits’.
When the cafés were closed Jeanette and Linda kept in regular contact with the families by phone and email and tried to keep them in good spirits with quizzes, wordsearches and lots of emotional support. Now that restrictions are easing, they are finding that people are still very anxious to venture outdoors. They have resumed doorstep/garden visits.
One fundraising activity which will happen on 5th June is the ‘Brimmond Challenge’. Linda and Jeanette will climb Brimmond Hill continuously from 7am-7pm. They say, ‘It is a small hill but, as we were reminded recently, we are both over 60! We are so grateful to also be supported by a group of Occupational Therapists from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Those on the frontline of the NHS have indeed been our heroes during the pandemic and we are so appreciative of their offer of life support to our small, local charity. We will all be mindful of social distancing’.
There is a JustGiving page for donations: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/brimmondchallenge
For further information please contact:
Dr. Daniel Bennett, Convenor, Living Well Project