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Bromsgrove Shedders Activity Boards help people living with Dementia

Thanks to the support of North Worcestershire Rotary Club, Age UK Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest’s Bromsgrove Men In Sheds have made a set of Activity Boards for members of the Droitwich Spa Dementia Meeting Centre. 

Prior to the pandemic, the Bromsgrove Shedders started working with the North Worcestershire Rotary Club on a project to use their woodwork and design skills to develop and make ‘Twiddle Boards’ to support local people living with dementia.

Twiddle Boards (and other similar fiddle products, such as knitted Twiddle Muffs) have been shown to help promote focus and tactile experiences, which can be beneficial to a person living with dementia, helping to relieve tension and restlessness. 

Although the project was affected by the pandemic, during lockdown the Shedders worked as a ‘virtual shed’ producing a variety of different prototype Twiddle Board designs, from items that they had around their homes.

Twiddle Boards have been shown to help promote focus and tactile experiences, which can be beneficial to a person living with dementia, helping to relieve tension and restlessness. 

Once restrictions were lifted, and the Shed was able to re-open in May, representatives from the Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre (which provides a place where people are supported to understand and adapt to living with dementia) came along to review the prototypes to see which designs might most benefit their members. 

The Shedders initial prototype ‘Twiddle Boards’ 

Thanks to funding from the Rotary, the Shedders were able to purchase materials to convert their prototypes to create a series of Activity Boards, the first set of which were recently collected from the Shed by Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire’s Anne Montgomery, who is the Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre Coordinator. 

Speaking about the Boards, Anne said, “The members of the Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre will really enjoy having these Activity Boards which have been made up for them by the Shedders.

Most of the male members, and several of the ladies, have told us how they previously enjoyed DIY and being involved in practical tasks. These Boards will help stimulate memories and, being involved in solving the puzzle, will give our members a great sense of achievement. I would like to say a huge thank you, to everyone involved who has made it possible for the Centre to have the Twiddle Boards.” 

Shedder Jim Collis presenting the Droitwich Meeting Centre’s Anne Montgomery with an initial set of Activity Boards along with an example of one of the Boards

Age UK BRWF’s Jo Hughes added, ‘We are really grateful to the North Worcestershire Rotary for supporting Bromsgrove Men In Sheds with this community project. Based on national figures, 1 in every 14 of the population over 65 years has dementia and it is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the UK will care for someone with dementia in their lifetime, so dementia is something that will touch many of our lives. We know the difference that the Shed makes to those that are able to attend – through this, and other similar projects, we hope to share this difference with members of the wider local community.” 

Men in Sheds originates from an Australian project started in the 1990’s, called Men’s Sheds, as a way of tackling loneliness and social isolation in older men where retirement can mean loss of status and contact. Anyone interested in joining or supporting Bromsgrove Men In Sheds can find out more by contacting Jo Hughes at Age UK BRWF on 01527 568855 or by visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/brwf/activities-and-events/men-in-sheds/ 

Supporting Notes 

  • Age UK Bromsgrove Redditch & Wyre Forest (Age UK BRWF) is a local, independent, self-funding charity, supporting older people (aged 50+) across the districts of Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest. 
  • Our aim as a charity is to make North Worcestershire a better place for people to grow old, by delivering a range of local services aimed at promoting independence and enabling people to make the most of later life. Our core services include our free Information and Advice (I&A) service, our ‘At Home’ service plus a range of services aimed at promoting independence and reducing loneliness and isolation, including our free Befriending service plus our activity groups, including Bromsgrove Men In Sheds 
  • Men in Sheds originates from an Australian project started in the 1990’s, called Men’s Sheds, as a way of tackling loneliness and social isolation in older men where retirement can mean loss of status and contact.
  • The first Men In Sheds project was started by Age UK Cheshire in the autumn of 2008. The idea of the project is to have a place where men (or women) can get together to work on DIY projects or furniture reclamation, get some community spirit going and have a good time. Bromsgrove Men In Sheds has been operating since 2016. For a short video about the group (with Shedders talking about the difference that the Shed makes) please visit https://youtu.be/p_SBhOZQgeg 
  • For further information about age UK Bromsgrove, Redditch & Wyre Forest please contact Jo Hughes (Tel: 01527 868855, Email: Jo.Hughes@ageukbrwf.org.uk) 
  • Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire provide the Dementia Wellbeing Service across Worcestershire as well as running community centres across the two counties, including the Droitwich Spa Meeting Centre. For more information about the Droitwich meeting Centre please visit https://www.ageuk.org.uk/herefordshireandworcestershire/our-services/dsmc/