Working for the community with the community
Heeley City Farm's Dementia Department is a set to help and provide a hub of support for carers for people with Dementia through Carers groups and info support and also to help people with dementia through Animal Assisted Therapy and other creative resources
In 2015 Heeley City Farm opened a dementia department. Ran by Lee Pearse, with help from his brother Andrew, who cared for their mother, Valerie, for over 12 years. Valerie had a rare form of Dementia called Frontotemporal Dementia (formerly known as Pick's Disease). today the Dementia Department host many events across the city of Sheffield, they hold a 'Carers Group' for carers of people with FTD on the second tuesday of every month, they have launched 'Farming Comes To You', an initiative were the animals of the farm go into care setting for Animal Assisted Therapy. Farming Comes To You has already been in care homes, Cultural Dementia City event at Sheffield City Hall, International Older Persons Day in Sheffield City Centre and the Celebration Event for Carers Week at Hillsborough Arena.
Farming Comes To You (FCTY) is a initiative set up by the Dementia Department (along side The Valerie Foundation) were we take the animals from the Farm and take them to care settings, for Animal Assisted Therapy sessions, so that people who are isolated, living with dementia and potentially missing the outside world can interact with animals. Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) has had research into it to find the benefits for people with Dementia. AAT has proven to help relieve symptoms in people with dementia, most notibly, agitation and anxiousness. Animal interactions can have a calming effect on people and someone with Dementia who might not necessarily communicate their agitation can show a more calmed demeanour.
Lee is also the National Dementia Champion, awarded to him by Alzheimer's Research UK in 2013. He has been on numerous TV shows, Newspaper articles, blogs and alike campaigning about Dementia awareness and research
HCF's Dementia Department does work with The Valerie Foundation and they have their own website http://www.tvfhcfdementia.com
In April 2016 the Dementia Department set up a monthly groups where carers of people with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) can come in a secure and confidential space. This carers group (held on the 2nd Tuesday of every month) was only the 3rd in the country at the time it was set up and has, on average, 10-15 attendees each month.
We are currently transforming one of our picnic areas into a Dementia friendly area.
The NEW garden area, All Our Space is a postcode Trust funded dementia garden project that aims to offer an outdoor space for anyone in dementia related communities. The garden area was designed by 3rd Medical students from University of Sheffield in Nov 15 as an investigation and research tool into dementia, access, environment and therapy.
HCF staff member Tony Hancox has been leading the construction with students and volunteers consulting with Lee and Andrew Pearse who are managing the project and concept. The team have been working gradually over the last few months on the paths, planters, seating and are now hopefully working with MA Architecture students from University of Sheffield on a suitable build/summer house/indoor activity space.
The space is to offer a practical project for carers of those with dementia as a respite from caring responsibilities.
The space is also a safe and accessible area on the farm that encourages care homes and care environments for people with varying dementias to be able to engage in a wide variety of activities and simply be outside with nature.
The Dementia projects have been made possible thanks to the funding awarded to us by Postcode Community Trust