Back in 2007 on a routine hospital appointment I received the shock news, off a nurse, that my father would have to come back in 2 years for another check-up subject to his Dementia.
It was from that day forward that we realised how confusing and distressing a time we had trying to find out what help and support was out there and who we needed to contact.
I remember my mum saying that we had our own family and she would look after my Dad. I instantly told my mum 'that she and my Dad was our family and we would support each other on the journey ahead'.
I remember as though it was yesterday how some friends and relatives kept away as they didn’t know how to talk or communicate with someone who had Dementia. Months later and all the pressure of looking after someone with Dementia were taking its toll on my mum. I remember my Dad going to a day centre for rest bite care. The drivers who picked my Dad up, from home, and the staff from Heathside day centre were brilliant. Anyway they were having a bingo night to raise much needed funds and we persuaded my mum to go with us to support them even though she was really tired.
That was the best thing that could have ever happened. When my mum walked in that room and realised that every person in there was going through exactly the same thing as my mum a huge weight lifted off her shoulders. You see she wasn’t really alone as others were going through exactly the same as her.
From that point onwards, as a family, we decided that we didn’t want anyone else to feel alone and we wanted to do something to help others. We had a dream that we wanted to set up Dementia cafes around our Borough were people like ourselves could get help and support if their friends and family had Dementia. We were fortunate that my wife Karen and I became Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Wigan and part of that duty was to raise money for a local good cause.
We decided to raise money to set up Dementia cafes and I went to a local Alzheimer’s and Dementia meeting to seek support. It was there I met some amazing people who at that time wanted to set up the cafes but couldn’t find the funding.
So the rest his history. In 2010 we managed as a charity committee to raise over £30,000 . What amazing people we have in our Borough, as theyhelped us raise allthat money. I'll not mention their names individually, as it would be unfair, but they know who they are and I owe them much gratitude. With the support of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia society the cafes are now open. We have 5 now and each one is open one day a month to offer support and information where it's needed. More and more people are attending each month so check out the events page to get details of your local Dementia café.
We want you to realise that you are not alone out there, and like you we have gone through the same journey that you're going through.
On mayoral duties we met some amazing people who were having coffee mornings, cake stalls, fundraising events etc. but no one knew all these things were going on for Dementia. At that point we decided to raise funds to set up this website for the whole borough so someone can refer anyone to the site for information. All the main organisations you need to contact are on, as well as an events page where any organisation or volunteer, that is running an event for Dementia, can put it on the website, so everyone knows what's happening.
So come and join our Dementia Buddy family and help us to support others. We have set up a charity called 'Good Deeds Trust' to make sure help and support, where needed, are always there so a family or friend you know with Dementia will not be alone.
Thanks for your support
'Good Deeds Trust'