Railways are living memories, even model railways

According to evidence from The Alzheimer’s Society, over 800,000 people currently live with Dementia in the UK.

Triggering previous experiences is seen as an important way of connecting and engaging with those who have the condition.

With that in mind, let’s take you to March in Cambridgeshire…..

March has always been a railway town. The March and Railway Model Club hit on an idea of connecting model railways to the topical and ever present issue of Dementia.

The club have been thinking about model railways, layouts, trains and wagons as more than just that: After seeing an article in a national model railway magazine they decided they wanted to explore the possibility of running a project directly aimed at helping people who live with dementia.

The idea was simple: using a portable railway layout could they trigger important past memories in Dementia sufferers, and as a result improve their engagement and well-being.

They approached Support Cambridgeshire partner Cambridge CVS to help with creating a proposal that:

  • Evidenced the need.
  • Set out the objectives.
  • Described the outcomes.
  • Obtained funding.

The club had already received support from three model making companies who donated models, and a national model railway magazine who wanted to publish an article about the project. The club recognised the importance of working in partnership with others and they had already developed links with the Dementia Café in Wisbech run by Alzheimer’s Society and PHAB Wisbech.

Cambridge CVS helped the club obtain funding from sources, including the Healthy Fenland Fund and with this the club began to build their larger mobile layout.

After a successful first session at a Dementia Cafe, one Dementia carer said that she was now buying a model railway set for her husband as she has not seen him so animated and engaged for ages.

And interest in the club’s activities is growing. A group of Care Homes are now seeking the support of the club.

But with success comes pressure: The club is only small and in need of more members.

Take a look at their web-site: http://www.mdmrc.co.uk/




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