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Archie's World Record Breaking Birthday
THE ARCHIE PROJECT
Reminiscence Learning is a local Somerset charity registered in 2003. It has an office/training base in Bathpool, Taunton and offers a series of training courses both QCF accredited National Open College Network and taster workshops for those wishing to improve their knowledge and skills within the field of reminiscence, dementia care and planning activities.
We also provide Activity Angels and Fitness Fairies to work alongside carers and care assistants to run activities and specialist projects encouraging integration among isolated individuals and the older person and those with long-term physical and mental health problems.
Our organisation aims to promote, maintain and improve activity and education by working with people with dementia and their family carers and those with physical and mental health needs. We offer support and back-up to those who need lifelong learning and help to build bridges within the community, focusing on equal opportunities and breaking down barriers. We endeavour to prevent isolation and improve friendships by encouraging individuals to take an active role in their community.
Archie’s Story is an exciting, intergenerational dementia awareness community project that is designed to ultimately make towns and villages dementia friendly. A highly successful pilot project partly funded by Somerset Community Foundation was run in Williton in the autumn of 2012.
Many people with dementia will use mascots or dolls as a source of comfort and attachment; here at Reminiscence Learning we have a brightly knitted scarecrow called Archie as our mascot.
Archie has now come to life in ‘Archie’s Story ‘which has been created to dispel the stigma associated with dementia. The book is designed to explain simply without being patronising that there are many types of dementia. It illustrates the main signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s - the most common type, the fact that there is no cure, the things we should say and do to prevent a person with dementia from feeling ignored, invisible and unloved and to ensure they feel a meaningful part of their community.
Archie’s story is suitable for all ages and provides an intergenerational link for all, dispelling the fear that is often present with younger people and those with little knowledge.
We are aiming to link the local schools, Care Homes, local businesses and services and community together to provide dementia awareness workshops for parents, grandparents, teachers, children and other members of the community.
A tea party will be organised initially to enroll community interest and a steering committee will be set up with representatives from the local parish and district council, Somerset Care, Reminiscence Learning, the schools and local businesses.
We will run a dementia awareness session for the teachers. They will be introduced to ‘Archie’s Story’ and the Archie workbook (with teacher’s integrated technical support CD) Archie workbooks (Key stage 1 & 2 ) and a copy of ‘Archie’s Story’ will be given to each child in the school from year 1 – 8 with the introduction of a new simpler Archie Activity book called ‘Meet Archie and his Friends’ for reception age children, identified as a result of the pilot project.
The children will be encouraged to engage in other activities to reinforce the Archie story - creating a scarecrow in each class, having a scarecrow parade, learning the Archie song and reading or acting out the drama, based on the story and a drama box with props etc will be provided for the school.
The aim would be for the school to create a drama production (scripts provided) so parents and members of the community could attend.
Each child will be given a copy of Archie’s Story and a printed Archie ‘goody’ sports bag with banner pen – showing dementia facts, balloon and stickers.
Parents and adults will be given a copy of Archie’s Story, a shopping bag printed with the Archie Dementia and Awareness logo and a banner pen.
Knitted mascots will be provided for the care home and a drama box with props etc will be provided for the school.
Members of the local community will be offered an opportunity to attend basic dementia training and given a ‘Dementia Friendly’ sticker (attached) to display in their homes, community centres and premises to show they are dementia aware.
We aim to link the school with a local care home/homes. We already have links with care homes in many areas in Somerset, Devon and Dorset. Intergenerational links will be encouraged through activities with people with dementia and the school children to join in sessions such as singing, gardening activities, coffee mornings, shared lunches, games of snooker, colouring in and craft activities such as making Christmas cards and joining in tea dances and story-telling, all of which will help the children in their awareness of dementia.
The Care Innovator Award - Nominee: Reminiscence Learning and Somerset Care
The Archie Project.
I am a primary school teacher at one of the pilot schools of the Archie project and am confident the Archie project will change pupils’ and teachers’ views on dementia; it has already changed mine. From the moment Archie’s story was read to me, I could not wait to become involved in this exciting and innovative project. The story introduces the concept of dementia and the importance of a community being dementia friendly in a wonderfully unique way. Written in a simple yet informative style, I feel the story will appeal to all members of the community.
The workbook and teacher’s pack created by the Reminiscence Learning team will support teachers in continuing to learn more about dementia and successfully pass this information onto their classes through the creative activities available in the workbook. Reminiscence Learning carried out staff training at my school to introduce the Archie project to members of staff and explain the purpose of the workbook. After the meeting, it was clear that all members of staff felt this project was unique and of great benefit to the children; we are all looking forward to introducing it to the children in the autumn term!
I have worked in a number of schools and have never been introduced to such an exciting and innovative intergenerational community project. Even in the short space of time I have worked on the project, I can already see the benefit Archie will have in making a community dementia friendly.