Aspire Creating Communities is an Occupational Therapist led, person-focused, dementia friendly service, centred around building relationships with group attenders. We started just over five years ago and became a charity in December 2019. Our beneficiaries are over 55s who come to our sessions for fun, laughter and friendship, leaving with this and much more. These sessions are accessible to all, with affordability not being a barrier. Central to our approach is strong relationships with beneficiaries, their families, and our community.
Prior to COVID we ran seven groups throughout Kirklees and were in the process of starting two more. And then, of course, COVID came and we immediately thought about how we could continue to support our beneficiaries, staying connected whilst keeping everyone safe.
Since March 2020 our session leaders and supported by our fantastic volunteers have regularly spent time on the telephone chatting and checking in, referring to food delivery services and offering wellbeing advice and support. Providing a friendly voice with an ear to listen and spend some time with. Our clients often tell us how much they look forward to these calls
As well, we have delivered monthly craft and wellbeing packs to over 150 people including existing friends but also to some new referrals in wards where there was already an active group. We have also had referrals in the new areas for Aspire that we happily took on board. The packs have included simple crafting activities, books and audio-books, nature and outdoors activities, gentle exercise instructions, colouring books, postcards from Aspire staff and tips for staying well and staying connected. We have had amazing feedback from our beneficiaries about how much they appreciate the thought that goes into the contents of the packs and also how it helps pass the time and keep them busy,
We launched a project called “Creating Connections”, to deliver 50 internet enabled tablets to people in Kirklees who would not otherwise have internet access. This has been a lifeline for a number of people who are now using the tablets to video call friends and family, to read the news, check the weather, play games and access church meetings (to name a few examples.).
Our efforts have been funded by generous grants from various funding bodies and have recently been recognised by the National Lottery who have awarded Aspire with a grant of over £32,000 from the Community Fund to continue our work in the community. Keep an eye out for our exciting new fundraising events that are planned throughout February by checking our website, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/aspirecreatingcommunities or Twitter https://twitter.com/aspire_hudds