Age UK STW – Dementia Respite Service celebrates first birthday

Dementia Respite Service celebrates first birthday

Afternoon tea delighted those gathered last Monday to celebrate the first birthday of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin’s Dementia Respite Service at Withywood in Shrewsbury.

The bright, spacious lounge was filled with easy chatter, singing and laughter as service users and their families came together for the milestone event.

Emma Wilde, Senior Co-ordinator (Day Services) of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, gave thanks to everyone who made the first year of operation such a success, including attendees and their carers, staff at Withywood, volunteers and her own team: ‘It’s been a special year, full of wonderful people doing amazing things. We’ve received a lot of support from a whole variety of people and had a lot of fun along the way, creating so many wonderful memories.’

Emma also gave special tribute to the first users of the service, several of whom were present: ‘It’s been both a privilege and a pleasure to get to know you and hugely gratifying to see you here today, one year on, thank you.’

The scale of the dementia challenge in the UK makes sober reading: Over 850,000 people* are living with dementia and this is predicted to increase to one million by 2021.

Figures collected by GPs** indicate that there are around 70,000 people aged over 65 living in Shropshire, with more than 3,400 diagnosed as living with dementia. Current projections will see this figure rise to 6,000 by the end of the decade.

Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, said: ‘The people gathered for the birthday celebration are testament to the success of the service. What a positive atmosphere! I’m delighted and heartened by their feedback and kind words.’

She continued: ‘As our local population ages, the number of carers of people living with dementia, will only continue to grow. The respite service provides an opportunity for them to have some time to themselves, knowing that their loved one has some social interaction, can perhaps pursue a hobby or interest and is remaining active, whilst in the safe hands of a fully-trained, experienced and caring team. The Withywood facility is a lovely environment to be in and is an ideal place to offer respite once a week to families living with dementia.’

Feedback from family members attending the birthday party includes the following:

‘It’s good for me and good for my husband. He even starts getting things ready on a Sunday and I know he benefits from attending.’

‘We’ve tried lots of different services for Mum and this one is by far the best. Each week everything is well planned and the team put such a lot of thought and care into everything they do.’

‘It feels like a family environment, and one that’s safe and happy.’

‘I get some time to run errands, meet friends or just have a few hours to myself, knowing that my husband is being safely cared for.’

The improvement in Mum’s spirits since she started coming here is amazing. Each week she leaves animated and happy, just like my Mum used to be.

‘This is a life-saver, just being able to get stuff done without having to worry is priceless.’

‘My wife definitely seems happier and is always keen to come here.’

‘This wonderful service allows me to spend some quality time with my daughter. We go shopping and do girly things, which we simply weren’t able to do before. I couldn’t imagine our lives without it now. Priceless.’

‘My husband gets spoilt when he comes here. He so looks forward to Mondays.’

Age UK’s Shropshire Telford & Wrekin’s weekly Dementia Respite Service at Withywood is open from 10.00am-4.00pm. The service is run by qualified carers supported by experienced volunteers and our Dementia Support Workers.

For more information and to book a visit to look around Withywood with a member of the Dementia Support Team, call  01743 233123 or email

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