From Keighley News, May 3rd, 2018
Written by Miran Rahman
A KEIGHLEY-born former communications chief to the Prime Minister officially opened a new town centre drop-in centre for people with dementia and their carers. Alastair Campbell cut the ribbon in the Airedale Shopping Centre on Saturday, marking the start of the latest phase of work by charity Dementia Friendly Keighley (DFK). The unit in Brunswick Arcade has been open since last June, operating as an information and advice point but from now on it will provide a safe place for those with dementia to spend time while their carers take a break.
Steve Seymour, Airedale Shopping Centre manager and DFK chairman, said: “This is a momentous occasion for DFK. Not only is the drop-in centre the first of its kind in the country, but the charity has become a vital resource for so many in our community.
“It provides a wonderful and safe environment where people with dementia can visit while those who are caring for them can take some time out.”
Around 60 people gathered to meet Mr Campbell. He spoke warmly of his childhood, his father’s work as a vet in Keighley and his affection for northern England.
He praised the work DFK does in the town. Mr Campbell singled out the quality of the charity’s Journey Through Dementia booklet, created by DFK member Rod Tickner, saying it was one of the most informative, jargon-free documents of its type he had ever read.
Among those present was Bradford Lord Mayor Councillor Abid Hussein, who offered DFK a £1,000 donation from his Wishing Well appeal. Other supporters of DFK who attended included MP John Grogan and Keighley town councillor Anayat Mohammed.
Visitors were treated to refreshments, many of which were donated by Asda.
Maggie Marsden, one of DFK’s founders, said: “Our committee has worked hard to reach this point. A drop-in centre was what carers told us they needed right from the start and we feel so proud to be able to offer this fantastic resource.
“It doesn’t feel like an end-point though. There’s still a lot to do to break down barriers and reduce the stigma that exists around the disease.
“We’re a small band and we wouldn’t have been nearly so successful without the help and support of our wonderful volunteers.
“As the service develops and grows we’ll need more help. So If there are any people who feel they could offer a little time to work at one of our groups, or in the drop-in centre, then get in touch by phone or call in at the unit during opening times.”
The charity’s Keighley unit is open on Mondays from 1pm to 4pm, Wednesdays, 10am to 4pm and Fridays from 10am to 1pm.