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Dementia action across Libraries Unlimited

Posted on 27 Apr 2021

Illustration showing a group of people campaigning for dementia action week 2021 with grass and sky backdropZoom socials, craft, cooking, films and singing welcome those with dementia and carers

The most ambitious programme of library events ever launched to bring people with dementia and their carers together with their community, is being rolled out across Devon and Torbay for Dementia Action Week (17th – 23rd May 2021).

The fact that the events need to be online due to Covid restrictions hasn’t deterred Libraries Unlimited staff from devising the creative programme.

The week itself is being spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness that 34.5 million people in the UK know someone living with dementia, and to call on the Government to improve the social care system.

Charlotte Sumner, Team Leader from Paignton Library who’s leading Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Action Week for Libraries Unlimited said: “There will be one million people living with dementia by 2025 according to the Alzheimer’s Society. At Libraries Unlimited we believe we have a key role to play in welcoming and supporting people with dementia as part of our community, and also offering information and support to those caring for them. Dementia is not something that is nor should be shut away behind closed doors.

“The pandemic and ongoing restrictions mean we are unable to host in-person events in our buildings just yet – not least of all because people with dementia can also be in the groups most vulnerable to Covid infection. So this is a golden opportunity to reach out online.”

A number of initiatives will run across all libraries through the week including:

Promoting the ongoing services libraries provide:

  • Books on Prescription A recommended selection of books giving advice for those caring for someone with dementia, AND picture and reading books for those with dementia. 
  • Dementia Friend at each library
  • Good Neighbours library membership to allow nominated friends or family to choose and return books for those unable to.
  • Home Library Service (Devon) and Books on Wheels (Torbay) Books chosen by volunteers and delivered to those at home.
  • Online books For children and those with dementia.
  • The Tovertafel – interactive games, sounds, lights and images projected onto a table at South Molton and Tavistock Libraries (available once they open).

Calendar of events throughout Dementia Action Week:

All events are free, book your tickets to take part.

Monday 17th May

Talking Memories Reminiscence Collection launch – Based at Barnstaple Library and available for loan throughout Devon and Torbay, the collection consists of a variety of jigsaw puzzles, large print picture books, memory games, sensory items and replica memorabilia packs. They’ll be loaned out to individuals, groups, care homes and day care centres. We can select items for a theme on request, for example, childhood, home, garden, holidays, sport and World War II.

Tuesday 18th May

11am Home Instead Fraud and Scam Awareness (Zoom session 30 mins) – Book here.

2pm Home Instead Dementia Awareness (Zoom session 45 mins) – Book here.

Wednesday 19th May

10am John Risdon Devon local history talk called ‘Timeless Broadsands’ (On Facebook)

11am Taster session of Singing for Wellbeing for Dementia by Naomi from Music Speaks. Including songs from a range of genres and decades – from folk and sea shanties, to musicals, to songs from the 1950s and 1960s.  (On Facebook 30 mins)

12.30pm Forget-me-not craft session – easy flower finger painting and chat (On Facebook)

2pm Rock Cakes Baking video (On Facebook)

2.30pm Bingo with Ageing Well (Zoom). Free session for up to 1 hour from Torbay Ageing Well.  Book here.

Thursday 20th May

11am Dementia Q and A for families and carers with Admiral Nurse Tracey (Zoom Session) – Book here.

4pm Clare Helen Welsh Children’s Activity: For children aged 3 – 9, crafts and a reading of ‘The Tide’ to introduce children to memories and Dementia.  Book here.

Friday 21st May

11am-12pm Live songs with Cameron Lemmer. Join in with old and new songs or just sit back and enjoy. Join via

2pm Film matinee – Florence Foster Jenkins (Cert PG Running Time 110mins) – Free film screening at home.  Based on an astonishing true story, starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg, and directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena), the hilarious and inspiring Florence Foster Jenkins tells the inspirational true story of the eponymous New York heiress who obsessively pursed her dream of becoming a great singer.  The film celebrates human spirit, the power of music and the passion of amateurs everywhere.  Booking here.

Charlotte added: “We’re working with organisations like Torbay Healthy Lifestyles, Devon Carers, dementia charities and Westbank as well as local memory cafes, mental health centres, GPs and dementia clinics and care homes.

“We would encourage people to contact their local library to check out other events they may be organising. We also want to get the message across that this isn’t just for a week – each library has a Dementia Friend in place, and an ongoing range of services and events for people with dementia and their carers.”

Libraries Unlimited is the charity responsible for running Devon and Torbay Libraries.  Find us on Facebook – Libraries Unlimited.  Visit Devon Libraries or Torbay Libraries to find your local library.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.