Honiton Admiral Nurse campaign: you can get involved

Admiral Nurse Honiton logo. Midweek Herald

Admiral Nurse Honiton logo. Midweek Herald - Credit: Archant

The campaign to bring a much-needed Admiral Nurse to Honiton continues - Read Min Rennolds account of why she is involved in the campaign.

Min Rennolds.

Min Rennolds. - Credit: Archant

As the co-ordinator of Honiton Memory Café, I would like to share my thoughts and experiences with you.

My nursing career started in 1966 as a cadet nurse at Digby Hospital in Exeter.

Having finished my RMN training I worked in a variety of wards at Exe Vale Hospital until they were closed in the mid 1980s.

This is when I moved to work at The Bungalow in Honiton which was latterly an assessment centre for people living with dementia and also provided daycare.

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However, this also closed so I was fortunate enough to then work as a community psychiatric nurse with the older adults team until my retirement in 2010.

It was at this time when I was approached by a very good friend and ex-colleague Heather Penwarden about starting a memory café in Honiton, which after months of researching, finding and recruiting volunteers, finding a venue etc, started in May 2010.

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The café provides a safe, welcoming space for carers as well as those who are living with dementia to come and socialise, support and meet others in a similar situation.

It can be a very worrying time for all the family who are all on a new learning curve and desperately trying to do their best for their loved one so any support we can give I hope is beneficial.

Unfortunately, the NHS now only provides an assessment, diagnosis and support and advice on challenging behaviour. This leaves so many families struggling on a journey on their own trying to cope.

We quickly identified a need to increase our meetings from monthly to the first and third Thursday of every month.

We actively engage with members and try our utmost to provide what they think is needed for them to live well with dementia.

That is how our ambling group, nostalgic cinema, short mat bowling, theatre trips and pub lunches came about.

We know there are more than 250 people diagnosed with dementia in our community but also there are many more who have not been diagnosed yet and statistics forecast this is to increase.

What families desperately need is a specialist Admiral Nurse, who travels along the whole journey with them.

She is at the forefront of providing support, information and engaging with others to make the journey safer and easier to cope with.

We already know that Honiton is a caring community in many ways, as it received the Dementia Friendly Rural Town Award from The Alzheimer’s Society in 2016.

Together, I sincerely hope we can achieve our £150,000 goal as I think the way forward in any community is collaboration with both the voluntary sector, NHS and any other interested parties.

Working in partnership with Dementia UK, the charity that provides specialist dementia support to families through their Admiral Nurse service, achieving this target will enable us to secure a three-year contract for the specialist dementia support that will be of such great benefit to local families.

If you feel the same and would like to help in any way however small, please call Heather Penwarden on 07966 135442 or write a cheque made payable to Honiton Admiral Nurse.

Alternatively, visit www.justgiving.com/honitonadmiralnurse.

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