The Leven Litts Writers’ Group of Alexandria are all smiles this week! Their application for funding from the Awards For All Scotland (Big lottery) has been approved and a sum of just over £6,000 has been deposited in the club account.
This money will enable the group to go ahead with their project, ‘Stimulating Memory - looking backwards to go forward’, which aims to produce books and dvds. The former will include stories and poems of all genres, illustrated in colour. The latter will have pictures and music based on the seasons of the year. The material will be made available for use with people diagnosed as being in the early or intermediate stage of Alzheimer’s.
Recent research has suggested that stimulation of the senses can not only delay memory loss but can also help retain and/or awaken deeply stored memories. As well as this, group readings will also encourage the use of speech which those diagnosed with Alzheimer's are often reluctant to use. For relatives and carers this project will display a positivity towards the situation in which they find themselves and which often leaves them feeling impotent.
The production of these books and dvds would address many of the issues arising from the needs of this group.
The project was initially an approach by Victoria MacLeod, a dementia advisor, and Catriona Malan, a volunteer, both of whom are writers, to produce some writing to be used in local centres. I met with them to discuss the idea and then approached the Leven Litts who agreed it was a worthwhile project.
I subsequently addressed the Annual Dementia Conference (Clydebank 2014) on the benefits of this. It was well received and the club were encouraged to plan a project which would enable their writing to benefit all affected, directly or indirectly, by Alzheimer's.
We hope the project will not only widen people’s knowledge and understanding of Alzheimer's, giving a greater insight into its devastating effects but also emphasise the fact that people diagnosed with Alzheimer's can still be valid members of society.
The project will involve many individuals and groups in the community. The local cine/film group have offered support, the local library has provided free use of facilities for planning and meetings, local writers have offered their writing, waiving royalties, Jan Johnston, the Regional Advisor for the area, has given her blessing and full support, believing this to be a very worthwhile project.
All in all we see this as a project which brings groups of people together on a common cause for the benefit of other groups in their community.