Written by May Lester
I panicked when asked to write this article. As a Project Manager, I’m comfortable with logic and facts (my mum’s genes). My day-to-day role involves managing communications for large infrastructure projects. Turning my hand to an initiative that is life-changing and emotionally charged and really doing it justice is a different kettle of fish. Keeping to my strengths though, let me start with some facts. 850,000 people in the UK have dementia. In less than five years this number is likely to increase to 1 million. Here are some more: in Sheffield, 6,000 people live with dementia. It can affect anyone, regardless of their age, background, education, lifestyle or status.
I am no stranger to witnessing a loved one experience a (currently incurable) condition. I know that statement probably applies to the majority these days. Whilst this comes with its own challenges, one fantastic by-product is that it forces you to challenge your own perceptions, and look for ways to improve life. It forces you to make some lemonade with those lemons.
I am lucky to work for a company that shares this philosophy. We want to improve the lives of people in Sheffield who are living with dementia. At Counter Context, we’ve have joined forces with Quality Context and the Postcode Support Trust to match donations made towards a vital new project that will be delivered by Museums Sheffield and Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust: Dementia Friendly Museums and Gallery Cafés. This initiative will break down existing barriers to living well with dementia, including social isolation, and will provide welcoming spaces for creative activities such as historic object handling and recording memories.
The Christmas Challenge is the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign. Museums Sheffield has a fundraising target of £4,000. We, along with Quality Context and the Postcode Support Trust, have pledged £2,000 for the matching pot. To reach the £4,000 target, we need online donations between 28 November and 5 December from the public. For one week only, we’ll be matching your online donations so that they are worth double to Museums Sheffield. You can donate now by visiting The Big Give Christmas Challenge website.
This is an opportunity to do something tangible for Sheffield. We were recently voted the ‘happiest city in Yorkshire’ (Rightmove, 2017) – let’s keep it that way, for as many people, and in as many ways, as possible.