We had 32 members this evening. Lisa welcomed everyone and also introduced and welcomed her 2 visitors - Helen Newman -  CEO Age UK Barnet and Avinash Mandalia – Welfare and Advice Manager at Sangam centre. Lisa also welcomed her Trustees and also welcomed Andrew Wrensch- Community Development Manager at Carlton Court Care Home and also Eshwan Seedoyal – Barnet Memory Service Team Leader.

During the first half hour from 7pm, Lisa first asked Helen to say a few words and then Avinash. Members then had the opportunity to ask some questions. Both Helen and Avinash gave a brief summary of the services they provide. Age UK Barnet was recently awarded the contract by Barnet Council to provide dementia services from the 1st April and the Sangam centre are celebrating 50 years this year. Members were interested to hear about the respite for carers offered by Age UK Barnet.  Avinash briefly summarised some of the services especially the counselling services provided for people who need help with depression, violence and abuse, divorce, bullying etc. They provide 14 sessions free of charge.  Lisa congratulated both Helen and Avinash and mentioned how important it was for organisations to work together and help as many people as possible especially after the very difficult year we had with the pandemic. Lisa wished them both well. There was not enough time for all questions but Lisa assured everyone that there will be an opportunity again to continue questions at 8pm after Andrew’s seminar. Lisa also reminded everyone about the Pay Pal competition and asked Nick (one of the Trustees) to provide further explanation.

Lisa further assured everyone that she will write her report at the end of the evening and will attach and email to everyone any attachments from Age UK Barnet and the Sangam centre and also information and advice about the Smile. Amazon and Pay Pal.

At 7.30pm Andrew started his seminar and the topic this week was an introduction to Mindfulness. The topic was called ‘Be Kind to Yourself – Mindfulness ideas’.  Andrew presented some slides explaining about Mindfulness which is all about paying attention to what is happening in the present moment. It was very interesting learning and Andrew also introduced some meditation practices. Everyone’s feedback was how excellent this seminar was and felt really good after the meditation.

At 8pm when Andrew finished, members continued with questions to Helen, Avinash and also Eshwan and Andrew. Members had various questions, one of which was about how we can get rid of the stigma of dementia. Lisa responded giving an example when she was raising awareness about dementia at Brent Cross Chopping Centre and someone approaching to take a leaflet decided not to take the leaflet because they were afraid that they would catch dementia. One of the carers Gillian, came up with a very good slogan – ‘It’s not catching –its caring’  Everyone thought this was brilliant.

Lisa thanked everyone and the two visitors and the meeting finished at 8.35pm.