This week saw the launch of what we hope will be many weekly gatherings called ‘Beyond Labels’, a title agreed by a group of women who want to meet regularly to support each other, to welcome new members and to talk about the challenges of cognitive changes. And all in the comfort of a peaceful, unhurried ambience of the Kiln Theatre. Sharon who works as our Dementia Peer support lead created the group having had discussions with a number of women who variously said they wanted to be a member, wanted to share their experiences with others and to learn from each other. One member said that she felt people like her just want to have an opportunity to talk, to listen and to connect with like-minded people. We are very grateful to the Kiln Theatre for their generosity in allowing us to use their space and hospitality facilities.
Sharon says she wants to create an environment for radical inclusion, generosity and openness and added that she was delighted even in this first week to see members making connections, sharing phone numbers, and agreeing next steps. The group will be a great opportunity to reduce feelings of being alone, supporting well-being, strengthening social ties and enriching lives and even becoming a voice for positive change in the borough. We are already being approached by surgeries asking for information on how to join. We say thanks also to CNWL for their contribution of funding to our dementia peer support programme.