A Dementia Friends Champion in south Wales is planning another opportunity to dress up and raise money this Elf Day.
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Last year’s Elf Day was such a success at Ebbw Vale’s Learning Action Centre in Blaenau Gwent that they’re determined to make an even bigger splash for 2019.
Julie Thomas, a local Dementia Friends Champion, says, ‘It was amazing last year! I spent the whole day surrounded by lots of smiley faces, hearing laughter in every corner of the building, and everyone loved the activities.’
‘Nearly 100 people joined us to celebrate and raise funds,’ says Julie.
The day was packed with a singalong, a gentle exercise session, mince pies, a Christmas quiz, a visit from Santa and even some festive line dancing.
‘Nearly 100 people joined us to celebrate and raise funds, and Santa was a great success with the families,’ says Julie.
‘All of us in the organising group want to do it again in 2019, and we are committed to make it even better this year.’
Fun, funds and more
Apart from being another good excuse to get dressed up and enjoy the lead-up to Christmas – all while raising vital funds – Elf Day can also spark greater awareness about dementia. Last year, this led to Julie running a Dementia Friends information session later that month.
‘The session was for the staff at the centre, community connectors and tutors from other agencies – about 40 people,’ says Julie.
‘More people knowing about the condition will stop them being frightened of it,’ says Julie.
‘Having taken part in Elf Day, they learned a little bit about dementia and were very keen to take up my offer of an information session to learn even more.’
‘More people knowing about the condition will stop them being frightened of it and they will know how to help a person affected by dementia. I see some wonderful results across our area – dementia-friendly cafés, churches, theatres, museums, shops, hotels and restaurants all help to change the world for the better.’
Learning into action
As a long-time supporter and volunteer, Julie has been involved in many Society events over the years, including for Memory Walk and Dementia Action Week. However, she encourages anyone to host an Elf Day event and recommends getting support from local networks, where people are often keen to play their part.
‘We had help from a local church to provide refreshments, the singalong was with a lady from activities organiser Goldies Cymru, and a line dancing tutor helped us learn the moves. The Learning Action Centre provided raffle prizes and Santa was from another church in Ebbw Vale!’
Dress up for Elf Day
Spread some festive cheer and dress up at work, school or in the community to raise funds for people affected by dementia.