Rotherfield St Martin, (RSM), is a vibrant community hub for older people providing a daily programme of activities, social gatherings, classes and complimentary therapies. It also offers a place for people with dementia to enjoy a full day of specialist activities in a fun, friendly and supportive environment, whilst also giving carers much needed respite.
We are now Crowdfunding to take our dementia support services on the road, out into the community and into people's homes. We want to reach those members of our community who need it most.
As people's dementia journey progresses, we see their isolation and loneliness increase as they become less able to attend and access group activities. Research shows that older people living alone are 50% more likely to visit A&E than those who live with others and are 32% more likely to have a stroke, (The Health Foundation, 2019). Currently, it is estimated that 850 000 people in the UK are living with dementia and people with a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's, (age UK, 2018). With the right support, those living with dementia can continue to live active and fulfilling lives.
The solution is to have trained volunteers, supported by a qualified practitioner, who will develop a supportive relationship with people with dementia and their carers. By getting to know the individual, learning about their life experiences, interests and wishes, a personalised package of home based support can be tailored to meet their needs. This could be providing complimentary therapies to enhance well being, playing board games, reminiscing, facilitating on going relationships, reading the papers together, doing a craft, art or musical activity, gentle exercise etc. By taking our services into people's homes we will be able to support people with dementia to continue to lead fulfilling lives for as long as possible. A daughter of one of our members told us,
"My Dad's adventures with RSM changed my Dad's life from someone who spent too much time merely watching television to someone who fully engaged with life....he regained a sense of self-worth and always had something to look forward to"
We will use the money we raise to extend the paid hours of a dementia practitioner, recruit, train and support volunteers, publicise the service, subsidise the cost of complimentary therapies and purchase dementia specific games and activities.
15 years ago, a local resident, Jo Evans, became aware that a number of older villagers were having to leave their much loved and life long homes and communities as no health or care services were available in the village. At the latter stages of life when people most need all that is familiar and comforting, they were having to sadly move away. Jo knew she had to do something to change this. So, she opened up her home, one afternoon a week to provide companionship, tea, cake and support. From these humble beginnings, Rotherfield St Martin was born.
Fast forward 14 years and today RSM is a registered charity, with a 14 year successful track record of supporting older people to tackle isolation and loneliness. We now have four part time members of staff, a community drop in hub and a fantastic group of over 100 volunteers who are the life blood of the charity. We currently support over 200 older people to lead active and fulfilling lives within their own homes and community. Members tell us RSM makes a real difference to their lives, "I find RSM truly amazing. It has bought out the very best in people and shows how a community can pull together". Over the last 14 years, our work has been recognised having received an award from The Centre of Social Justice , a Heart of the Community award and the charity founder being awarded a British Empire medal.
By taking our dementia support services on the road, out into people's own homes, we are continuing to address isolation and loneliness and supporting people living with dementia to remain living active and fulfilling lives within their own homes and community for as long as possible. As our population ages, the need for community based dementia support is ever increasing. We believe we are well placed, at the heart of the community with the right experience to develop and deliver this exciting project.
A massive THANK YOU for your support