Dementia Awareness Week, runs from 15 – 21 May this year and there is lots of activities going on at Beamish, to raise awareness but also to provide opportunities for those with dementia and their friends and families. On my very first induction day I was trained as a Dementia Friend and it’s great to see the Museum working so hard to make a public space where everyone is welcome and can feel comfortable and well looked after.
My first stop of the day was the school where lots of different groups and charities had set up stalls – it was great to say that they’d all got into the spirit of the Museum and were in full costume. They had also already gathered quite a crowd. I was then given my gardening gloves to go and help the gardening team plant some new vegetables in the miners’ cottage gardens. This was a great way for anyone who wanted to get involved in a very practical way. The team were absolutely amazing at getting everyone chatting and explaining what we needed to do. It was really fun and I can’t wait to pop by in the weeks that follow to see how my potatoes are getting on! I also found out about a few vegetables I hadn’t heard of before so it will be fascinated to see what they look like when they’re harvested. It’s also made me realise how hard the team work to keep all the green areas of the Museum looking neat and tidy and how even the garden of a property can tell us so much about what it was like living in a different period.
After a well earned bite of lunch I then headed off to the Band Hall, where a group of older people had travelled in for a tea party. For some of them, this was the first time in a long time they’d used public transport so it was only right that we rewarded them with some very tasty cakes and as much tea and coffee as they wanted. It was lovely to chat to them all about how they found the journey and what they’d seen at the Museum so far.
I had a great day today meeting lots of different people and finding out how the Museum cater for different groups to make sure everyone gets the most out of their visit.