Crowds enjoying the entertainment during Dengie Rocks Against Dementia on Burnham’s quay in July. This annual event is organised by Dengie D-Caf. The 2018 event raised well over £1000. © 2018 Nick Skeens

The Dengie D-Caf Dementia Support Group was started in December 2013 by two local residents, Yvonne McDermott and Kirsty Finch, with support from the Alzheimer’s Society.

In 2015 Dengie D-Caf was registered as an independent charity – Number 1164014.

They organise a range of activities to encourage living well with Dementia, providing support and information to carers and to those living with the condition, encouraging supportive mutual relationships.

The programme includes a range of activities to encourage living well with dementia and include exercises for the brain, singing and learning new skills.

There are workshops by local artists and musicians as well as outings to places of local interest in the summer months.

There is always time to catch up and for tea and coffee with home-made cakes.

Can I join?

Anyone who is affected by memory loss or dementia can become a member of Dengie D-Caf.

They can be people who have the condition or the people who care for them.

Members meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the Town Council chamber. 

See the Town Calendar.

The Dengie D-Caf has been given the use of a flowerbed outside the Council Offices and has filled it with herbs and plants that can cope with hot, dry conditions as well as Spring bulbs.

The Chair of the Trust is Cristina Franchi. Kirsty Finch is the Trust’s Secretary. The Treasurer is Alexandra Southcombe.

To find out more, call 07907 446 833.

Who is affected by dementia?

In 2015 the Alzheimer’s Society reported that over 850,000 people have the disease in the UK. Most of these people are over 65.

42,000 have young (early) onset dementia.

It is estimated the 850,000 total will rise to one million people by 2025.

There are over 22,000 people in Essex living with the condition.

There are three main types, though some people have a mix of conditions:

  1. Alzheimers – 60% of dementia sufferers have this form. It is thought to be caused by excess proteins in the brain that damage nerve cells,
  2. Vascular Dementia – the second most common form, and affecting blood circulation in the brain, causing clots, blocked arteries and burst vessels.
  3. Frontal Lobe Dementia – caused by the death of nerve cells and pathways in the brain.

As memory loss increases and time loses its clarity, Dementia can become extremely confusing and very frightening for those with the condition.

The family and friends of the dementia-sufferer often go through an extremely distressing time as they try to support their loved ones.

Admiral Nurses

Dengie D-Caf works to raise funds to bring Admiral Nurses to mid-Essex, where, currently, there are none.

Admiral Nurses are highly (and continually) trained and can make a significant difference to the quality of life of those living with the condition.

Admiral Nurses were named by the family of Joseph Levy CBE, BEM, who founded the charity. Joseph had vascular dementia (see below). He was affectionately known as Admiral Joe, because of his love of sailing.

SEAN – Bringing an Admiral Nurse to mid-Essex

Support an Essex Admiral Nurse (SEAN) is a fundraising group founded by Burnham resident Julia Mells in February 2017.

Julia recently lost her father after he went through a distressing period of dementia.

The money raised by SEAN goes into a dedicated fund at Dementia UK directly aimed at raising enough money to secure a community Admiral Nurse for Mid-Essex (for two years in the first instance).

SEAN’s target is to raise £25,000, which, it is hoped, will be match-funded. Thanks to the generosity of local residents as well as supporters in Colchester, SEAN has raised over £20,000 so far

Dengie D-Caf supports SEAN and is represented on the SEAN working group.

You can find out more about Dementia UK and Admiral Nurses by clicking here for their website.

Or you can call 0800 888 6678.

Dengie Rocks Against Dementia

Local guitarist Pete Crisp entertaining the crowd and an intrigued boy at Dengie Rocks Against Dementia event in July. © 2018 Nick Skeens

This annual summer Burnham event was founded three years ago to raise awareness about dementia and, since, 2017, to raise money to bring an Admiral Nurse to the area (see above).

The 2018 event raised £1277.62 towards this cause.

The event is also designed to entertain those with the condition – many report that music provides a vital connection to the world.

Dengie Rocks Against Dementia usually takes place on Burnham’s quay in July.