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Taking dementia action along the Bentham Line

Rod Tickner (Leeds-Morecambe CRP) with Elliott Bateson and Maxine Myers of Northern at the Dementia Action event in Leeds.

During Dementia Action Week, the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (CRP) joined a number of other groups and organisations providing services to those living with dementia at a special event in Leeds.

At the event (arranged by Dementia Friendly Leeds), the CRP members were able to share their experiences of working to establish the Bentham Line as a dementia-friendly railway. This has been achieved through consideration of the station and train environments, awareness-raising with staff and volunteers through dementia friends sessions and arranging visits and try the train trips which are geared towards supporting those living with dementia and their carers.

One such example is a recent trip led by the CRP members, where they took the Bentham Wednesday Lunch club by train to Carnforth to have lunch in the celebrated station buffet, made famous in the 1945 film Brief Encounter. Lunch was followed by a tour of the various displays in the adjacent Heritage Centre to help those living with dementia to recall memories of their youth.

The Bentham Wednesday Lunch Club enjoying lunch at Carnforth Station.

Rod Tickner, vice chair of the Leeds-Morecambe CRP, is an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends Ambassador and is often involved in raising awareness with groups along the 75 miles of the dementia-friendly railway.

Rod commented: “These trips allow individuals to experience feelings from the past as they travel to the seaside or country by train, providing an opportunity to reminisce. It is important to maintain independence for those living with dementia, and being able to travel safely and easily is very much part of that.”

The CRP is happy to arrange visits to a variety of places suitable for those living with dementia along the Leeds-Morecambe route. For those nearer Lancaster, possible visits include Skipton, Keighley or Saltaire, whilst Morecambe or Carnforth are options for those living nearer to Leeds. Bentham’s sensory farm and the Forest of Bowland are potential destinations for groups from both ends of the line.  Please contact the Partnership by telephone on 015242 98940 or by email if you would like to find out more.