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East Herts Council grants boost dementia project at Bishop's Stortford Learners Community Library




KItwood Unit, H&E Community Hospital, Bishops Stortford. Learners Community Library.Cllr Norma Symonds (Mayor) with l-r: Margaret Fox (from St Michaels church community), Dementia Champion Claire Uwins, Volunteer Sue Thompson, Community ibrary Leader Teresa Furze making music playlists as part of the work the library does with dementia patients. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (11661243)
KItwood Unit, H&E Community Hospital, Bishops Stortford. Learners Community Library.Cllr Norma Symonds (Mayor) with l-r: Margaret Fox (from St Michaels church community), Dementia Champion Claire Uwins, Volunteer Sue Thompson, Community ibrary Leader Teresa Furze making music playlists as part of the work the library does with dementia patients. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (11661243)

Bishop's Stortford's new mayor, Cllr Norma Symonds, visited the town's learners community library (LCL) to find out more about how it can help the elderly.

The facility at Herts and Essex Community Hospital in Haymeads Lane is primarily a resource for children and their parents, especially those who require additional advice and support to prevent or minimise future learning problems developing.

It works with schools, playgroups, professionals, Windhill children's centre and voluntary and community organisations to improve youngsters' speech, language and communication and their personal, social and emotional development. Currently, it has up to 30 visitors a month and about 90 members.

Two grants totalling £4,210 from East Herts Council have enabled the library to expand its facilities for elderly people with dementia to include a ground-breaking music project, called Playlist for Life, and a loan service for resources designed to help sufferers. The money will also help with administration and publicity costs.

Educational psychologist Teresa Furze explained: "The Playlist for Life charity uses people's favourite music to create their own personal playlist. Even if parts of the brain are damaged, music can still reach other parts, bringing back feelings and memories, reducing the use of heavy drugs, managing moods and strengthening relationships."

She praised Cllr Symonds and former mayor Cllr Colin Woodward for their support of the project.

The library at the hospital's Kitwood Unit is open twice a month: on a Tuesday evening from 5.30pm to 7.30pm and the following Wednesday, from 1pm to 5pm, for browsing, borrowing and advice from retired educational professionals and experts in working with people with dementia.

Membership is free for carers of those with dementia and mild cognitive impairment for this first year of the project.

The library is next open on Tuesday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 19. See www.learnerscommunitylibrary.com for more information.



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