This report is written by Session leader Justine:

"At the start of the session, the members were served tea, coffee and lovely biscuits and were happy chatting to each other.

After a short while, a lovely lady called Annalisa did some fun exercises with our members which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!

Annalisa putting the members through their paces
Annalisa putting the members through their paces

This was followed by a lively session of entertainment provided by the very talented James LeBec. James sang a variety of popular songs to which many of the guests and volunteers danced & he even did a music quiz where our members had to guess the name of the song! It was great fun!

One of our members was celebrating his birthday, Alfonso, and he was presented with a cake and we all sang Happy Birthday to him! After James left, the guests continued to chat and there was also table tennis, mini golf & darts! We were even treated to a lovely rendition of 'Strangers in the Night' sang by one of our lovely members, Terry!

Birthday Cake for Alfonso
Birthday Cake for Alfonso

26 guests and carers attended the session with the assistance of seven volunteers from the synagogue who were:- Justine, Stephen, Gilda, Dottie, Judy, Keith & Caroline."

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This was a very busy session as it was also celebrating a special 80th birthday for Andreas. Andreas's family members attended including a very special little guest – (Andreas’s 9 month old grandson also called Andreas). Marina brought a huge home-made birthday cake and lots of other savouries and refreshments.

Andreas about to blow out the candles on his birthday cake
Andreas about to blow out the candles on his birthday cake

This was such a special treat for all the members. Thank you Marina.

We also had a special guest today – Eugenia Dike (President Rotary Club Hendon). It was a pleasure to see Eugenia and all members made her feel very welcome.

Eugenia Dike, President Rotary Club Hendon & Lisa
Eugenia Dike, President Rotary Club Hendon & Lisa

 It was also a really lovely surprise to see Annette and Theresa (one of our regular volunteers who used to attend when Dementia Club UK started). We also had a new volunteer today called Carlos who was introduced through Volunteering Barnet.

There was so much excitement especially with the baby walking around in its baby walker greeting all the members with a smile.

After members had their cups of tea, it was time for some exercise as Jane had arrived. Jane introduced some Falls Prevention exercises today. Jane had no music today but this didn’t stop members from making their own music. Terry started to sing a music favourite and then Lisa started members singing “When the Saints go marching” followed by “Coming Round the Mountain”.

Jane introducing 'Falls Prevention' exercises
Jane introducing 'Falls Prevention' exercises

Members were then ready for the next part of the session with Moshe. Everyone always enjoys the music entertainment by Moshe.

We first sang Happy Birthday to Andreas in the usual Dementia Club UK fashion with the sparkler on the cake and then the cake was cut and distributed.

Andreas and his family
Andreas and his family

The singing and dancing then began which was electrifying as all the members were in a happy party mood.

Everyone had a really enjoyable session and thank you again to my volunteers attending today.

The day started with torrential rain but luckily by the time we were ready to set off at mid-day the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. What a great relief!

We had 40 members attending this trip. As the BCT buses can only take 28 members the rest of the members made their own way.

North London Society of Model Engineers volunteers waiting for us
North London Society of Model Engineers volunteers waiting for us

When we all arrived, there was no hesitation – members went straight to the trains and the train volunteers were ready to greet members and take them on board for their ride. In fact by the time the Fish and Chips were delivered, members had already had 3 train rides.

First ride of the day
First ride of the day

Everyone was then ready for their lunch as they really worked up an appetite. The Fish and Chips were really great. Lisa was very busy in the kitchen preparing and making sure members had everything they needed. Lisa is very grateful for the help she received in the kitchen from Valerie (one of our Rotarians from Golders Green and also a Trustee), Melvyn (one of our regular volunteers), Geraldine (one of our carers) and Mark (my husband and one of the Trustees).

When everyone finished their Fish and Chips, Lisa then served a variety of cakes and teas and coffees which went down a treat.

Members were then ready for another round with the trains.

It was a very successful and enjoyable afternoon and thanks must go to Dr Ian Johnston and his colleagues and volunteers who opened up especially for Dementia Club UK.

This is the train that took us to the car park where our buses where waiting
This is the train that took us to the car park where our buses where waiting

Ian said in an email to Lisa; “I felt that the men felt that their labours building the track and tunnel were rewarded by a very appreciative group of people. Thanks to you it all worked exceptionally well"

We had two new members today attending the session.

The session started as usual with members chatting and enjoying their teas, coffees and biscuits.

Lisa then welcomed the members and announced that the official launch of the Dementia Club at St John’s Church will be at the next session on the 25th of September 2018. A flyer will be prepared by Lisa and this will be distributed to various individuals and organisations which will also include an invitation to the Governor of the Rotary London District.

Simon our Rotary quiz master then introduced a picture quiz to members. They were asked to identify the names of 12 images. Members did really well.

It was then time for members to do some Chair Yoga exercises with Richard. The colourful beanbags were used again as part of the exercises and it was very enjoyable by all the members.

Chair yoga with Richard using colourful beanbags.
Chair yoga with Richard using colourful beanbags.

The yoga session was then followed with James Le Bec our musical entertainment. James sang some old time favourites which members enjoyed listening to and also joined in singing some other favourites followed with some dancing. James is well known for his music quiz and large dice which becomes challenging amongst members and very enjoyable. James also had the help of his assistant Joy today who was nominated by members to keep the scores. James asked members to identify various songs, some of which were also quite difficult as it required James to give a clue. Members enjoy that challenge and especially throwing the large dice to get a Six at every throw and try and beat the other clubs.

Everyone left with a smile.

Today was our launch of Tovertafel to the community and the unveiling of the plaque. We had 2 special guests – The Mayor of Barnet Cllr Reuben Thompstone with his 4 year old Son Thomas supporting the Mayor and it was also a pleasure to welcome Theresa Villiers MP for Chipping Barnet and also our Patron for Dementia Club UK.

The Mayor of Barnet Cllr Reuben Thompstone and his 4 year old son Thomas unveiling the plaque
The Mayor of Barnet Cllr Reuben Thompstone and his 4 year old son Thomas unveiling the plaque

Other guests were;

  • Nigel Wray – Chairman of Saracens
  • Rose Degen – Saracens Charity Relationship Manager
  • Mehdi Bedioui – from Tovertafel (CEO & Co-founder of Shift 8 the company
  • Andrew Spiers – from Tovertafel –Sales Director
  • Kay Matthews – NHS Barnet Chief Operating officer
  • Ian Bretman – Lay Member for Patient and Public Engagement
  • Robyn Sandler – Communications & Engagement Manager for Barnet CCG
  • Alan Gavurin – Estates Lead & Managing Director, Damson Health
  • Representatives from Community Health Partnerships
  • Sarah Perrin – Lead Commissioner Mental health and Dementia
  • Cllr. Caroline Stock – Chairman of Health & WellBeing Board
  • Mathew Kendall – Director of Adults & Communities Services
  • Richard Healy – CEO Barnet Community Transport
  • Rotarians from Edgware & Stanmore and Hendon
  • Anne Duggan – from The Fremantle Trust
  • Mayana McDermott – from SENSE a National disability charity
  • Monique from The Alzheimer’s Society
  • Sasha Capocci – from The Studios Rotary Club Borehamwood who made the celebratory cake today and donated it to Dementia Club UK.
Partner organisations.
Partner organisations.

It was also a pleasure to see many of the members of Dementia Club UK.

Five years ago on the 14th August 2013 Dementia Club UK opened the first dementia café in Barnet in this hospital and this was commemorated by an unveiling of a plaque which is outside room 62 on the wall. The dementia café was opened with funds that I raised when I was Mayor of Barnet in 2011/2012.

Dementia Club UK is now running 7 dementia clubs in the Borough of Barnet and one in Borehamwood. This would not have been possible of course without the continued support of Nigel Wray Chairman of Saracens.

The unveiling of this plaque today commemorates a special piece of equipment called Tovertafel which has been donated by Dementia Club UK to The Finchley Memorial Hospital and this is the first London hospital to have this equipment.

This wonderful innovation was brought to the UK by John Ramsay and Mehdi Bedioui, Founders of Shift 8 – the company.

The Tovertafel means ‘Magic table’ in Dutch and has been designed to help those people with mid to progressed dementia and will also benefit people with learning disabilities and children and adults with autism. Tovertafel consists of a series of interactive games that are projected on a table and can be played independently or with friends and family.

The Tovertafel was installed in this hospital on the 24th March 2018.

Dementia Club UK members have enjoyed playing with The Tovertafel and we are now opening this to the community. I have seen people with progressed dementia and when they sit at The Tovertafel table their face suddenly lights up with joy and they start to interact by trying to reach and touch the projected animations.

As a carer myself as my mother has progressed Alzheimer’s disease, I know the difficulties and challenges carers and families are faced with daily. To be able to provide some respite not only for the dementia suffers but also their carers and families is so important. Giving them something to look forward to and new innovations such as The Tovertafel makes a huge difference to their lives.

Dementia Club UK has joined together with Saracens, Barnet Council, The Fremantle Trust, Rotary, NHS and NHS Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group and Community Health Partnerships to now promote The Tovertafel to the community.

Finchley Memorial Hospital is in a prime location and with its increased number of services coming soon will become a very busy hospital. I am also working with Richard Healy and TfL to help establish a bus route that will be able to come down the long road to the hospital entrance.

I hope that many people with dementia and people with learning disabilities will come and enjoy The Tovertafel. For those interested to book the Tovertafel, please contact me.

PICTURES TO FLLOW