Dukes Theatre to help thousands of dementia sufferers

A Life More Ordinary will provide a programme of cultural activities for people with dementia and their families.
A Life More Ordinary will provide a programme of cultural activities for people with dementia and their families.

A pioneering project launched at a Lancaster theatre will give hundreds of people with dementia a better quality of life.

Such has been the success of the 18-month programme developed by The Dukes theatre and Age UK Lancashire that it has received more than £200,000 to continue and extend the work over the next three years.

The project, entitled A Life More Ordinary, will give people living with dementia more choice, more control and greater access to leisure and cultural opportunities.

It may potentially encourage 15 other venues to benefit around 5,000 people.

So far, the project has featured film events and taster arts workshops at The Dukes open to people with dementia, their relatives and the general public.

One wife of a dementia sufferer, who has already benefited from The Dukes events, said: “The first thing people with dementia do is shut off – they can’t or won’t join in conversations. Sometimes when you go to what you would term ‘normal’ activities, my husband is unable to join in, switches off and we end up coming away.

“Here he was part of a group and could join in.”

The Dukes groundbreaking programme will develop to include the setting up of a dementia theatre group and sessions encouraging dance and reminiscence, culminating with a major conference in 2018. A Life More Ordinary will be funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Rayne, Film Hub North West Central, The Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust and Elspeth J Thompson Trust.