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New ‘Contact the Elderly’ group launched in Crawley

A new group dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people has been set up, thanks to a Sussex Police donation.

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Superintendent James Collis (top left) and Chief Constable Giles York (top second left), with members and volunteers of the Crawley Contact the Elderly group

The new Contact the Elderly group for Crawley was launched on Sunday (28 April) at the home of Superintendent James Collis, who chairs the Chief Constable’s Charity Committee.

It comes after the national organisation was selected as the force’s charity of the year, as recommended by the committee.

A £5,000 grant was secured through the Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) to enable the launch, and it is hoped further groups will be set up across the county in other areas, including Crowborough and Berwick.

The PPAF is made up of monies received by the police from the sale of found property, and from property confiscated by order of the court and then sold. It is used solely to benefit voluntary and charitable organisations in Sussex.

Chief Constable Giles York said:

“I have chosen Contact the Elderly as my nominated charity of the year for 2019, and I am very grateful to the Charity Committee for all they are planning and organising in support of the charity.

“Contact the Elderly is a nationwide charity which could tangibly benefit from our support. It exists because there are 500,000 older people in the UK who say they go five or six days a week without speaking to anyone. Loneliness is damaging to both mental and physical health. By providing regular face-to-face contact the charity empowers their older guests to improve their quality of life.

“They have a very simple concept which involves organising monthly tea parties for people over the age of 75 who suffer from loneliness. Older guests are paired with volunteer drivers who take them to and from tea parties. The tea parties are usually 5-8 guests and their drivers. The parties are held in the homes of host volunteers, who provide food and sometimes a fun activity.

“This is an excellent charity benefiting some of the most vulnerable and lonely in our communities, and I’m delighted to be supporting them this year.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the group is encouraged to email info@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or call 0800 716543. Alternatively, you can visit the Contact the Elderly website. 

Health & Wellbeing

Council asks you to help improve the lives of those living with dementia

More than 30,000 people in West Sussex are Dementia Friends, and West Sussex County Council is encouraging all of its staff and residents to join the programme.

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The focus comes in support of Dementia Action Week, which is running from 20-26 May 2019.

Dementia is rapidly becoming the defining health issue of our time, with the numbers of people living with the condition increasing and no treatment to prevent or cure the underlying diseases. However we believe that life doesn’t end when dementia begins. 

Over the duration of the week, a range of events, such as Memory Cafes and ‘Ask the Expert’ will be taking place across the county, aimed to raise awareness of the matter and share information. 

As part of these events, Human Story Theatre is presenting Connie’s Colander across various West Sussex libraries. A drama intertwining a mother and daughter’s journey with dementia, tickets to the stripped-back, intimate show are free and can be booked via Eventbrite. The drama is crammed with all emotions and lots of laughs, alongside an informal Q&A session, facilitated by the two actors and local dementia specialists.

Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said:

“Dementia affects each person differently. Therefore it is really important that we understand how to recognise when someone is living with the condition.

“I cannot emphasise the importance of becoming a Dementia Friend enough. None of us are immune to the disease, so it is vital that we help to make a difference and continue to reduce the stigma surrounding it.”  

Around 14,000 people are estimated to have dementia in West Sussex and that figure is expected to reach 18,000 over the next six years.

More advice on dementia, as well as information on the upcoming events, can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/daw19.

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