WELLINGTON-based Reminiscence Learning has won a £51,306 National Lottery community fund grant to support carers and people with dementia.

The charity has seen a demand for its services during lockdown, while fundraising activities have been severely curtailed.

Chief executive Fiona Mahoney said the windfall would make a huge difference.

She said: "This grant will ensure we can continue to provide services and help us to remain sustainable over the next six months.

"We’re now in our 17th year. We’re extremely grateful to the National Lottery, the Government and the National Lottery players in Somerset for their support."

Reminiscence Learning provides a range of specialist services including respite sessions, activity days, events and activities, as well as care training, focusing on dementia, reminiscence and the provision of dementia-friendly activities, including twice-weekly carers groups.

Clients include individual carers, volunteers, NHS professionals, nursing homes and business owners who want to make their staff dementia-aware.

Pre-lockdown, the charity ran schemes to bridge the gap between old and young, working with local schoolchildren to help them understand dementia through the Archie Project.

It also organised a weekly forest school session at Otterhead, which linked people with memory impairments with children with social and emotional needs, helping boost self-esteem, confidence and independence.

Gill Beesley, whose husband has dementia and used to attend twice-weekly respite activity sessions, said: "The sudden arrival of this dreadful coronavirus changed all that and we were suddenly not allowed to leave our home.

"Reminiscence Learning immediately reinvented the wheel and came up trumps with twice-daily online live videos made by various members of the team to keep us in touch.

"There have been cooking demonstrations, quizzes, exercises, craft, laughing yoga and singing.

"We have also enjoyed weekly video calls from one of the team. It’s so good to talk and Michael knows he is not forgotten.

"We are so grateful for the hard work the team have put in and really hope they will be able to continue with their wonderful support."

For more information about Reminiscence Learning and the services it provides, visit www.reminiscencelearning.co.uk or e-mail office@reminiscencelearning.co.uk or phone 01823 668676.