A project which has helped hundreds of people with dementia enjoy a better quality of life has received more funding to extend its work.
A Life More Ordinary, a project developed by the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster and Age UK Lancashire, has received more than £200,000 to continue and extend its work.
Lancashire has around 17,600 people with dementia aged 65 and over.
These numbers are expected to rise to more than 25,600 by 2025. In Lancaster alone, there were 1,823 people with dementia in 2010, predicted to rise by 42 per cent by 2025.
A Life More Ordinary will give people living with dementia more choice, more control and greater access to leisure and cultural opportunities at The Dukes and potentially 15 other venues to benefit around 5,000 people.
So far, the project has featured film events and taster arts workshops at The Dukes open to people with dementia, their relatives and, uniquely, the general public too.
The Dukes groundbreaking programme will develop to include the setting up of a dementia theatre group and sessions encouraging dance/movement and reminiscence, culminating with a major conference in 2018 where examples of good practice will be passed on to other arts organisations.
Older people will contribute as well as benefit from the programme which will be supported by at least 60 volunteers.
“We believe this is a truly pioneering programme and its impact, sustainability and legacy will be profound,” said The Dukes business development manager, George Harris.
“We know of no places where an arts activity that has been adapted for people with dementia and is available to family members and the general public.”
One wife of a dementia sufferer who has already benefited from The Dukes events said: “The first thing people with dementia do is shut off – they can’t or won’t join in conversations. Here he was part of a group and could join in. And that does you good as well which is important to carers because we’re enjoying it when they’re enjoying it.”