A crucial asset for the community is about to open - and here's a sneak peak!
A new dementia hub – the first of its kind in the country – will be ready to help many hundreds in need when it opens this month in Tangmere and called Sage House.
Tours have been taking place at the brand new £1.7m facility, showing off a range of services, including a coffee shop and community space; hairdressers; a kitchen for cookery classes; and a big space for activities.
The hub will complement the current services, providing a base for NHS staff and charities like the Alzheimer’s Society to support people under one roof, with memory assessment and counselling rooms available.
With 13,000 people in Sussex said to now be living with dementia, the hub is expected to be busy and will service Chichester, Bognor and surrounding villages, Midhurst and Petworth and Arundel.
Crucially, it will also be for people who aren’t yet diagnosed with the degenerative condition.
The hub has been created by charity Dementia Support and head of fundraising Lelsey-Anne Lloyd said: “Our tours have had so many people who are living with someone with dementia come to us just desperate for help.
“Our confirmed opening date is May 8 and we’re expecting to be inundated.”
Each area of the building is sectioned into bright, bold colourful zones and not just so it looks inviting.
Lesley said: “People living with dementia sometimes lose the ability to read, either words or numbers, but they will always recognise colour.
“We have some really strong colours here so it gives people some empowerment over their own day.”
A ‘smart zone’ will also allow people with dementia and their families to try out all the latest technology which can help around the home.
Secure day care services will also be on offer.
A therapy room will offer hearing and sight tests, chiropody and oral health, and a high-tech bathroom will allow people to bath in safety.
Perhaps most importantly, the hub will be a safe, friendly space for people to bring their loved ones and enjoy time together.
“People can get some quite challenging behaviour with dementia and can be quite vocal, which sometimes causes families embarrassment,” Lesley said.
“But here that doesn’t matter, people can be exactly as they are and there are people on hand to always help.”
Cookery lessons in the kitchen and groups like the popular and award-winning Singing for the Soul will all soon be held there.
The cafe and community space has been named Daisy’s, after Edward and Bella Page won a competition to name it after their grandmother.
It has been an incredibly rapid journey, with Dementia Support only forming in 2014, then taking over the old Virgin Media call centre and turning it into this one-stop shop of services.
Lesley said: “We are the first in the country to offer diagnosis, memory services, activities and day care in one place, the full range of dementia services under one roof.
“It normally takes ten months for someone to be diagnosed and our mission is to normalise dementia.
“People can be so fearful for what it means but no one should suffer in silence.
“With the right help, people can live well with dementia.”