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East Anglia to host its first ‘dementia-friendly’ music train

East Anglia has hit all the right notes after hosting its first ‘dementia-friendly’ music train this week.

People with dementia and their carers were invited to join the 1.30pm Witham to Braintree service on Tuesday, 7 December, free of charge and enjoyed music from a live saxophonist during the journey, before visiting Braintree Town Hall for refreshments and Christmas cake.

The event was organised by Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (CRP), and Braintree District Council, supported by train operator Greater Anglia.

Last year, Braintree Station became the first ‘dementia friendly’ station in Essex thanks to a partnership between Greater Anglia, Essex and South Suffolk CRP, Braintree District Council and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Nearly 20,000 people in Essex are estimated to be living with dementia, and this is set to increase to more than 25,000 over the next 10 years.

June Povey, community rail officer for Essex and South Suffolk CRP, who is training to become a Dementia Champion, said: “It’s so important that the railway is accessible and inclusive, and we were pleased to be able to offer a supported event to help those living with dementia and their carers enjoy an independent, fun day out. We hope that this has also helped to build confidence about travelling by train in the future.”

Rebecca Richardson, Greater Anglia’s accessibility manager, added: “It’s important to us that the railway in East Anglia is accessible to everyone, including those living with dementia and other hidden disabilities. So we are pleased to have worked with Essex and South Suffolk CRP to facilitate this event designed to help make rail travel accessible to more people.”

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