Keep Blue Flamingo Running!

by Blue Flamingo Community Hub in Preston, England, United Kingdom

Keep Blue Flamingo Running!

Total raised £1,418

£25,000 target 4 days left
5% 29 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 30th May 2024 at 10:02pm

Last year we saw incredible growth and have expanded into 3 hubs across Preston. Your support will help those hubs to thrive!

by Blue Flamingo Community Hub in Preston, England, United Kingdom

This is what we do...

A group of elderly people sitting at a table  Description automatically generatedThrough music, singing and a variety of creative activities, we provide opportunities for people to socialise and loved ones to connect. The activities we provide promote cognitive stimulation and encourage mobility and new ways for Carers and loved ones to interact. Although our main focus is on older adults, we encourage people of all ages, including children, to join our sessions, thus providing opportunities for intergenerational connection. We specialise in offering support to those living with dementia and their Carers by helping them to link with others who share similar life experiences and connecting them to professional services.  

We make a lasting difference to people’s lives by holding weekly sessions at our main hub and monthly sessions at our satellite hubs which operate in different areas of the city, allowing us to reach a wider cross-section of the community. During our sessions we regularly connect with our members, listening to their challenges and connecting them to the appropriate outside professional support. We often ask our members what activities they would like us to offer and we can usually respond to these requests almost immediately.  

A white flamingo in a circle with text  Description automatically generatedWe have a Care Advice group (WhatsApp) which allows our members to connect with each other through the week; included in that group are various health and social care professionals who can respond to needs expressed therein. We provide day trips throughout the year which allow those with even the most severe mobility challenges to get out, thus reducing isolation. We regularly invite creative practitioners to facilitate our sessions; we try to identify those at greatest risk of isolation to join other community groups led by our visiting practitioners or larger organisations. As we are an inclusive group, we invite anyone from the community to join our sessions. This helps reduce the stigma around ageing and dementia, and encourages people of all ages and abilities to connect with each other and the whole community.

We recently launched the Flamingo Friends project, which is a volunteer-led service which monitors attendance. When we identify individuals who’ve not visited us for a few weeks, our volunteer will contact them to see how they’re coping and will signpost them or directly connect them to the appropriate support. 

This is how we do it...

A table with books on it  Description automatically generatedWe provide spaces for people to socialise in a café-style setting. We offer refreshments, including a light lunch buffet, and set out tables in a communal setting to encourage social engagement. We provide a wide range of activities for people to engage with either individually or as a group such as jigsaws, word games, draughts, dominoes, and more. Members are invited to borrow items from our Lending Library which consist of items appropriate for those living with dementia or impaired physical movement. Our volunteers are first aid trained and have received specialist dementia training. As a team, we work together to ensure that our members are welcomed and we take time to chat with them; not only do these chats promote friendship and connection, they help us determine how people are coping and where they might need help and support. We’re connected to a wide range of professionals in the health and social care sector and we use those connections to link people with professionals best suited to address their needs.  

Our professional partnerships include: Lancashire Carers Service; Lancashire County Council Occupational Therapy; Age Concern, AgeUK Lancashire, Alzheimer’s Society; Dementia UK; NHS LSCFT; Social Prescribing Network; Healthwatch. We have also developed relationships with local charitable organisations such as Let’s Grow Preston, Dig In, Preston Community Music, and Rosemary & Time. 

This is who we support...

A group of people sitting at a table  Description automatically generatedWe support older people in our community, particularly those living with dementia and their Carers. We are an inclusive group and welcome anyone from the community to attend our sessions, whether they live alone, have recently lost a loved one, or are living with a disability. We want our sessions to be reflective of the community where we’re based and never turn anyone away. We encourage opportunities for intergenerational connectivity by inviting children from the local school to visit our sessions and invite volunteers to bring their children with them when and where appropriate. We are proud to support over 80 members with an average of 46 people attending our most popular sing-along sessions and 20 attending our Quiet Activities and Carer’s Support Circle sessions. All of our members are invited to sign up for our mailing list and are offered support outside of the café which is sometimes done through email or phone and in some situations by home visits.

This is why we do it...

There are currently over 11,000 people in Lancashire living with dementia. Many of 1714682671_1714682671608.pngthem are cared for by loved ones who are also ageing. Living with dementia and caring for someone who has dementia is a daunting and burdensome task which can lead to loneliness and isolation. By providing a welcome and inclusive space which caters to the unique needs of these individuals, Blue Flamingo Community Hub is well-poised to connect people to appropriate support whilst promoting wellbeing and improving mental health. Creativity and – in particular – music are powerful tools in helping to connect people. Our sing-along sessions are by far our most popular and the joy it brings is palpable. Music and rhythm also play a powerful role in helping support people living with dementia. 

This is why we need your financial support...

1714682782_1714682782853.pngIn Lancashire, rates for inpatient hospital use, emergency admissions and mortality for people with dementia aged over 65 are significantly higher than the England average. The 2016 Report of the Director of Public Health and Wellbeing highlighted that in Lancashire, although life expectancy is increasing, healthy life expectancy is falling. (These facts were taken from the 2018-23 Lancashire Dementia Strategy report.) There are several 'day care' options in the greater Preston area which provide support to those living with dementia; however, these are offered at significant cost.  In September 2023, Lancashire County Council abandoned their non-means tested respite care provision, which means that a great swathe of the community have to pay out of pocket for respite care. For some carers, paying out of pocket for respite care is not an option as their need to pay for personal care for their loved ones takes priority, an issue often raised by our members. Coupled with the cost of living crisis, people are finding it more and more difficult to pay for places which provide specialist support to those impacted by dementia. There are a limited number of groups in the community which provide the robust package of support that Blue Flamingo offers at no cost to its users.

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