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Institute for Dementia holds Christmas lunch

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Institute for Dementia holds Christmas lunch

Tuesday 6 January 2015

The University of Salford’s Institute for Dementia held its first successful Christmas lunch event for local people living with dementia and their carers or partners on Christmas Day.

The event was held in partnership with Community Christmas, an organisation that supports local communities in organising Christmas events for older people who would otherwise have been alone on 25 December.  16 guests from the local community, many of whom are living with dementia, together with their families joined staff and student volunteers for the festive lunch.

As well as sharing Christmas lunch, guests and volunteers sang carols and a number of children of staff volunteers were on hand to pull crackers. One student volunteer even brought her pet dogs, fully attired in Christmas outfits, which added to the entertainment and festive spirit.

Dr Tracy Collins, Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences and a member of the Salford Institute for Dementia, led the Salford Community Christmas event.  Tracy was contacted by Community Christmas founder Caroline Billington after she read about her doctoral research with older widows in a newsletter from the Campaign to End Loneliness.

Dr Collins said: “The event was a great success and undoubtedly made a real difference.  All of our staff and student volunteers really enjoyed spending Christmas lunch with local people with dementia and their families who joined us.

“One of the guests who joined us had spent Christmas Day alone for the last 14 years and this was the first opportunity he’d had to enjoy the festive season in the company of other people. 

“This event brought joy to the people with dementia and their families who joined us, at what should rightly be a joyful time of year.  All of our staff and student volunteers knew what a difference they had made to all the guests and are a shining example of the University community at its best.”

The guests were also joined by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Martin Hall, the Chair of the Institute for Dementia’s external advisory board, Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP and Professor Maggie Pearson, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Public Benefit) and Dean of Health & Social Care. Professor Pearson added: “The Institute for Dementia aims to be right at the heart of the local community here in Salford and across Greater Manchester.  This year’s community Christmas lunch was a prime example of the brilliant work that our staff and students are doing to fulfil that aim. 

“We are all very proud of the work the Institute continues to do and I know that, after speaking to our volunteers and guests, this was a Christmas Day we’ll all remember fondly.”