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Mayor supports Gloucester week of activities to raise awareness

Mayor of Gloucester Neil Hampson has revealed how he became his grandmother’s carer as a young boy, to help highlight dementia during National Dementia Awareness Week.


Coun Hampson was speaking at Gloucester’s Kimbrose Club – a day club for people with dementia - which all week is running a host of activities to help mark the awareness event. It was one of his last events before handing over the chain of office to his successor.


“I was brought up by my grandmother, Kathleen, because my parents were no longer together,” said Neil. “My grandmother had a very large house in Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire and I was with her from the age of about ten or 11. There was just the two of us.”


Neil said it was when he was in his early teens that he first began noticing a change in his grandmother’s behaviour. Occasional forgetfulness gradually became more frequent and eventually Kathleen went into a home. But for three or four years Neil was Kathleen’s sole carer – making her meals, shopping, helping her to dress – and all the while his school was unaware he was looking after his elderly grandmother.


Now the Mayor is joining in the Alzheimer’s Society’s annual awareness campaign. And he has also become a trustee for Gloucester Charities Trust, which runs Kimbrose Club.


All week the club is running activities for the members, including baking with family and friends, a seated sports day, musical entertainment and an afternoon tea. They joined in the Alzheimer’s Society’s United Against Dementia Challenge, to get everyone to conger.


Kerry-Ann Lees, manager at Kimbrose Club, said Dementia Awareness Week was a great way to highlight the condition, and everybody at the club – including staff and members – was keen to get involved.


“Our club members live with dementia, so coming to the club gives them a chance to take part in a range of activities which will help stimulate them. We do all sorts of things here, and Dementia Awareness Week is an excuse to invite along family and friends, and people like the Mayor, to show what a fun, caring environment we offer.”


The Alzheimer’s Society runs Dementia Awareness Week every year, to help improve people’s understanding of the condition. Dementia is set to be the 21st century's biggest killer. But awareness and understanding remains low and many families are facing it alone.


There are spaces available at the Kimbrose Club for people with dementia, whether their condition has been recently diagnosed or is more advanced. Visits can be on a day, half-day or even hour-long basis, one day or several days a week. For more information call Kerry-Ann on 01452 414659 or visit The Kimbrose Club is part of Gloucester Charities Trust.






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