By Mags McGagh
I recently spent a most enjoyable and uplifting afternoon at the hugely successful Peter Quinn Dementia Support Group which is held at the Bethsan International Church on Crowcroft Road in Longsight.
The group was established in September 2016 by Marion Quinn following the death of her father Peter Quinn in April the same year.
Marion, who had cared for her father through his dementia, was appalled by the total lack of support available while caring for him.
She felt very strongly that she didn’t want anyone else to find themselves in the same position as she and her father had been in.
With a group of 10 volunteers, who have all experienced dementia first hand with their own friends or family members, Marion set about establishing a weekly group.
At the first meeting, the volunteers outnumbered the service users by two-to-one.
News of the group quickly got around and they now regularly host 50 or more service users every week.
It has been so successful they have had to provide an additional session on Fridays.
Service users and their carers are treated to a variety of activities at each session including live music, bingo, dancing, lunch, raffle, advice and even aromatherapy sessions, every second week, provided free of charge by Gary Stanley.
The group have had a lot of support from local musicians, including from the team behind Dubliners’ tribute musical show Seven Drunken Nights – Ged Graham, Billy and John Barton, as well as a popular local singer and Mayo Man, Peter Mylett.
All of them provide their services for free. The group survives solely on donations.
On the day I visited, Peter Mylett joined the group to forward a donation of £235 which had been given to him to pass on.
Throughout the year the group holds various fundraisers.
Forthcoming events include a Summer Gala Evening on 7 June and a dinner dance on 12 October, both events will be at Holdsworth Golf Club in Stockport.
My visit was a very positive and uplifting experience, during which I witnessed such joy from the service users, who responded so positively to all the activities provided.
Marion and her volunteers are providing a much-needed service to the local community and long may it continue.