A new service to support people with dementia is set to start this September at Gilmerton New Church on Ravenscroft Street. The Beacon Club, which has been running very successfully in Broomhouse for many years, provides food, friendship, and social activities for people with mild to medium cognitive impairments.

The service is open to anyone who has a or is waiting on a dementia diagnosis and attendees do not have to be referred by social work. People can self-refer or it can be done by friends and family members. To support the service, The Beacon Club are also looking to recruit volunteers to help set tables, serve lunches and run group activities.

Beacon Club Service Manager, Nancy Bryson said:

“Following lockdown, demand for services to support people with dementia has soared. We’ve had some very long waiting lists as the effects of lockdown have been felt even more by people with dementia. Not being able to get out and the lack of opportunity to have social interaction had a very detrimental effect.

“At The Beacon Club groups are small to make sure that everyone has lots of support and chances to speak to all the members. 98 percent of those attending our Beacon Club in Broomhouse rate us 10/10 and last year we provided 800 hours of respite for carers, enabling them to take a little bit of time out for themselves.

“What is really important is that you do not need to be referred to The Beacon Club by social work or a GP or any other professional. If you have lived experience of dementia, are awaiting diagnosis or care for someone with the condition, then you can refer yourself to The Beacon Club and we will be happy to help.”

Gilmerton Beacon Club is set to hold the first meeting at the end of September 2022. Two new staff members, Karen and Kristine, have been recruited to manage the sessions.

Attendees will be provided with refreshments on arrival, a choice of hot meals at lunchtime, and a blend of activities and outings according to their preferences, abilities and needs. Transport to and from Gilmerton New Church can be provided. Members are asked to make a small contribution towards the costs but this is heavily subsidised by the charity.

If you would like to refer someone to attend The Beacon Club, contact Nancy Bryson nancy@spacescot.org or Karen Guthrie karen.guthrie@spacescot.org to register your interest. You can also call us on 0131 455 7731

Initially, Gilmerton Beacon Club will run one day each week but is expected to increase to four days, with 10 people in each group, as more members join. The service is still looking for volunteer support to help with all aspects of running the groups. If you are over 18 and free 9am-2:30pm Monday to Thursday and are friendly, understanding and have good communication and listening skills, then contact Nancy or Karen in the first instance. It’s a great way to boost your skills and give back to your local community.

For more about Space, our services for older people or to support our work see https://www.spacescot.org/adultcommunityservices/ or follow @SpaceBroomhouse and @TheBeaconClub on Twitter.