Focus on...Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group

Couples in Hull and East Yorkshire who are living with dementia are enjoying a new range of events and activities after the move of a support group to a city centre location.

Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group is now settled in new accommodation at 94 Alfred Gelder Street, above the cuisine and culture of Café Kardomah.

Members of the group are making the most of the extra space which they have, and of a setting which enables them to explore the streets and sights of Hull.

June Cooke, who founded the group in 2010, said: “The new base is convenient for our clients who live across the Hull area. It enables them to take part in Paul Schofield’s walking tours of the city and they also plan to attend the city centre’s many events and festivals, starting with the Yum Festival.”

Butterflies is in the process of becoming a registered charity. The company works with couples living with dementia, helping them to continue their relationships, and is a direct result of June’s personal experience.

She said: “My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s around 2008-09 and mum and dad were part of a research project, exploring the use of reminiscence therapy for people with dementia.

“Couples worked together on a different subject each week. I was liaising with the project team on behalf of Hull Memory Clinic. The people who had taken part said it was brilliant so we started a group. There are other groups for people with dementia and for carers but this is about encouraging relationships to continue.”

Butterflies shares part of the second floor at Kardomah with theatre company Ensemble 52, who use it for rehearsal space and storing costumes, but June’s activity on that side is declining.

She said: “I am a dress maker and I do theatrical costumes, but because I don’t have so much time it’s more of a costume store and hire service these days.

“Butterflies is full-time and more and this is a much better location. We needed somewhere that is accessible by bus from all areas of the city, and this allows us to provide support for more hours every week. People come in for the group sessions or just for a coffee, and there is a chill-out area which they can use if the other areas are noisy.”

Demand is increasing, with about 80 clients compared with an initial group of 24. June has also been asked to set up groups at Derringham Bank, Cottingham and Brough.

 

She said: “A lot of clients come through word of mouth. We get referrals from local older people’s mental health teams and from such organisations as MIND and the Alzheimer’s Society. We do a lot of networking. Some of our original members have died or gone into nursing homes, but those in homes are still encouraged to come if they can.”

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Focus on...Butterflies Memory Loss Support Group

Couples in Hull and East Yorkshire who are living with dementia are enjoying a new range of events and activities after the move of a support group to a city centre location.

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