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Meet Marie, our ‘New Beginnings’ Day Centre Manager.

Published on 19 May 2020 04:10 PM

Meet Marie, our ‘New Beginnings’ Day Centre Manager.

Marie manages a team of staff and volunteers at our day centre in Withywood where we run day sessions for older people living with dementia. The centre is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and caters to around 30 regular members each week.

A normal day at the centre starts with clients being collected from home by Bristol Community Transport, and then once everyone’s arrived, enjoying teas and coffees together ahead of the day’s activities. The centre runs a variety of activities over the course of the day including: seated exercises, board games and puzzles reminiscing sessions and more.

A few years ago, Age UK Bristol was awarded a grant to support the activities run by the day centre. This is something that Marie believes has made all the difference to both her clients and the team. “The grant meant that we had more freedom to run a range of activities that our clients were interested in, whether that be baking or bingo, and we can all really enjoy ourselves. If at the end of the day our clients and my team leave with a smile on their face, I know we’ve done a good day’s work.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately the New Beginnings centre has had to close its doors. However, Marie and the team are still keeping in touch with the clients.

“We’re all so familiar with our clients, the team wants to make sure everyone is ok.” says Marie. Most of the clients live with dedicated carers who are able to support them during this time, however Marie has had to make one or two referrals for additional support. This has included setting up emergency food parcels and meals and arranging online shopping as many of her clients are not able to leave the house.

Under normal circumstances Marie describes most of her clients as being very active and sociable, so lockdown has meant that now many are at risk of feeling lonely. Marie and her team have been having catch up calls with the clients every week to help prevent this. They have also started running some of the usual activities that take place at the centre over the phone, such as seated exercise routines.

“We had one client who said she was having more aches and pains in her legs of late, so we started doing seated exercises with her over the phone which she really enjoyed. We’ve also done some sing along over the phone too, which I think many of our clients like because it is familiar to them from the centre.”

Marie’s team have also been keeping in touch with a regular newsletter written by two of the volunteers and then printed from Marie’s living room. Marie has even had help from her mum, Myrna, who is living with her at the moment, as Myrna has been kept busy writing out the addresses.

Marie and her team have had to adapt and improvise with their work but it’s all worth it to support their clients. “We’ve had some lovely feedback from grateful clients.” Says Marie, “And we’re all just looking forward to a time when we’ll be able to see each other again.”

We are asking for people to give a donation to our Emergency Appeal to help us continue our work during the Coronavirus pandemic.