Our Royal Visit – 24th September 2019
We were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO to Reminiscence Learning on Tuesday 24th September 2019.
The Countess of Wessex formally opened our new Respite Activity Sessions and unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit. Our Respite Activity Sessions have a user led programme including creative activities, activities of daily living, cognitive and memory stimulating activities and active music. This innovative approach to day care, made possible thanks to funding from Somerset County Council is available on Mondays and Fridays with whole or half day places, with homecooked lunch and refreshments, providing essential respite time for family carers
The Countess also met some of the primary school children who have been taking part in the intergenerational dementia awareness Archie Project, which has been launched with all five schools in central Wellington this September. The Archie Project is an intergenerational dementia awareness project which links primary school children with a care setting, to raise awareness and understanding and ultimately reduce the fear and stigma often still associated with dementia.
This opportunity created a real sense of excitement for those who attend the sessions at Reminiscence Learning and provided the team with a real chance to celebrate the success of the charity.
Prior to the visit we received the following heartfelt message from our Ambassador, Mrs Annie Maw, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset;
“I just wanted you to know that I’m very excited about tomorrow and Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex’s visit to you. I hope it will be utterly fabulous and that everyone will realise that the reason for this, is because you are doing a magnificent thing and it’s time you were recognised and rewarded for it!
I feel so very proud of what you are doing and that it is part of our life in Somerset. It’s a level of care and compassion which sets such a high standard”
We were also delighted to welcome our patron Angela Rippon CBE who was so generous with her time and took the opportunity to stop and chat with all who attended – adding even more excitement to a truly special day!
May – August
Another jam-packed few months have passed and we have certainly been busy. We held our free ‘A Trip Through The Decades’ event at the Taunton Rugby club which was a huge success! Everybody was up and dancing to all of the fantastic performances throughout the day. Plus enjoying the sweets, milkshakes and buffet that was provided throughout the day. We couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out, it was sold out completely! Following that we entered the Taunton Flower show’s Designer Garden and won a Silver Medal for our Forest School Garden, designed by Ruth Conley. It truly looked amazing, and so much of the content was made by the people who attend our Forest School Sessions. We also held our first Dementia Friendly Restaurant Evening here at The Counting House. It was a real joy to provide a safe, quiet environment for families to enjoy a nice meal out together. The food was delicious and there was such a lovely atmosphere in the room, look out for the next one on October 15th! We had a defibrillator fitted to the front of The Counting House which will be a real asset to this area of Wellington.
January – April
We have had so much exciting news since our last update. We received funding from Somerset County Council which enabled us to start Respite Activity Sessions on a Monday and Friday, we held a fun-filled open day and started the sessions from April 1st, which have proved very popular. There is more information about these sessions on the Respite Activity Sessions section of our website. We have renovated The Counting House, with a shiny brand new kitchen along with a quiet lounge for clients to relax in. We have held free activity days at Martock and Minehead with our Chard day fast approaching, Minehead was especially busy with over 50 people attending! Fiona was the regional winner of the Care Innovator award at 2018’s Great British Care Awards and got through to the finals. We have had three fantastic new additions to our team, Emma – our new administrator, Claire and Linda who are both part of our new Respite Activity Sessions team. Archie’s friends through the decades represented Reminiscence Learning at the annual swimathon organised by Soroptomist International Taunton.
November – December
We have had a very exciting couple of months with lots of excellent news. We are very proud to announce that our Chief Executive Fiona has won the Care Innovator category of the South West Region Great British Care Awards, for our Forest School Project! She will now go forward to the National Finals which take place in March! The Taunton Round Table hosted a very successful speaker dinner for us with guest star Michael Portillo, a huge amount of funds were raised and we had a fantastic evening. We have held three crafty Christmas cracker activity days, funded by Somerset Skills and Learning, in Taunton, Bridgwater and Burnham-On-Sea. We’ve had some wonderful feedback from care homes who attended and everyone was very impressed with the Christmas crafts that they made and got to take home. Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir gave a lovely performance at St John’s Church raising funds for us in November, Wellington School Students made a guest appearance and performed some beautiful solos. Our Archie Projects have been running along nicely, we have seen lots of lovely festive intergenerational activities taking place, along with some fantastic Archie Parade’s!
September – November
We have been very busy at Reminiscence Learning, there has been so much going on. We held another Dementia Awareness and Respite Event at the Thurlestone Hotel in Kingsbridge, Devon where everyone was offered a selection of complimentary therapies including head massage and reflexology. We launched a new Archie Project with Oake, Bradford and Nynehead Forest School linked with Oake Active Living Centre! Rockwell Green have made some fantastic artwork for their Archie Project, just look at these lollipop scarecrows! Archie took part in Wellington Carnival this year, joined by the Farmer. Another successful Activity Day was held at Wellington Rugby Club, very much looking forward to our next one at the Taunton YMCA.
We are very proud to announce that Annie Maw the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset has offered to become an Ambassador for Reminiscence Learning! We’re looking forward to working closely with her.
30th July 2018 – 13th August 2018
We have had some a fantastic fortnight at Reminiscence Learning, Emma and Shane took part in Wellington’s Wacky Wednesday sessions which were holiday and sports day themed. We were invited to Haynes Motor Museum as they’re hoping to make the museum more dementia friendly, we had a brilliant tour and everybody enjoyed the day. Wellington Operatic’s touring group led a jam-packed Music and Memories session at the Counting House. Wellington Pantomime Group presented us with a brilliant donation of £1000, raised during their performance of Hercules. Archie also made an appearance at the Minehead Rotary Party in the Park, the Rotary Club also confirmed they will be funding next years Archie Projects at St Peter’s Primary School Williton and Knights Templar in Watchet which is amazing.
23rd July 2018 – 30th July 2018
Archie attended this year’s Taunton Live, the performing and creative arts festival. He loved watching all of the performances at Goodland Gardens and even joined in with a bit of bhangra dancing amongst other things. There was a fantastic turnout with thousands attending, so it was great to spread the word about the work Reminiscence Learning do!
16th July 2018 – 23rd July 2018
Emma attended the final celebration for the Archie Project at Kilkenny Court with the pupils from St Andrew’s School. The children in costume, sang songs from their school play and recited a poem written by the class about their experiences of the Archie Project. Thank you to the Deputy Major of Taunton Deane, Councillor Francesca Smith and representatives from the Taunton Rotary for joining us at the celebration.
Emma was presented with a large celebration cheque from Clarke Wilmott of Taunton, totalling a huge £15,576.96, which was raised throughout the 2 years, and shared between Reminiscence Learning and Teenage Cancer Trust. Clarke Wilmott have made a huge difference to both us and the Teenage Cancer Trust. It has been a huge pleasure and lots of fun to work together on some really amazing and memorable events.
July 9th 2018 – July 16th 2018
This week Archie has been to St Budeaux Junior School in Plymouth and Brunel Primary School in Saltash Cornwall, to deliver their Archie Sports Bags to them, which marks the end of this years Archie Project’s with the schools. Archie watched some fantastic assemblies where he heard from the children just how much they enjoy the Archie Project and how much they have learnt about dementia over the year. We have some great plans for next year’s Archie Projects!
On Tuesday we had a party at Otterhead Forest School, who we have been working with since last year. Every Tuesday residents from Wellington House along with members of the local community have been working with the children that attend Otterhead Forest School. They do nature walks, outdoor cooking, fire building, woodwork and all sorts of fantastic activities. This year’s session’s have now ended as we enter the school summer holiday’s, so we held a party! We had some special VIP guests Mary from Somerset Community Foundation, Kay Morgan from Somerset Skills and Learning and the Mayor of Wellington councillor Gary James. We had lots of fun activities to take part in, a barbeque and a cake! The children made their own stalls and donated all proceeds made to Reminiscence Learning, which was a wonderful gesture. We can’t wait to start sessions again in September!
Shane also attended Rockwell Green Primary School where residents delivered Archie sports bags to the children that they have been working alongside residents of Wellington House in their Archie Project.