2016 is off to a flyer in Chipping Norton, with key charities rolling out events promoting fundraising and awareness.
Experience Chipping Norton is proud to host Dementia Friends and Rafiki Thabo Foundation on the ECN website, and showcase the amazing work these dedicated teams undertake to further their causes.
Dementia Friends staged a major February launch welcomed by Prime Minister and local MP David Cameron, while the associated Lights Up charity held an exhibition of artwork at Chipping Norton theatre.
Rafiki Thabo Foundation is celebrating a great year in 2015, and looking forward to an exciting fundraiser – a skydive involving the more intrepid ECN team members, scheduled for the summer.
So what’s been going in Chippy?
Eight Chipping Norton town councillors (see attached photo) joined Mayor Mike Tysoe in signing up as Dementia Friends following the January town council meeting.
The official launch of Dementia Friendly Chipping Norton took place on Wednesday 3rd February at Chippy’s Theatre,.
At the launch, Chipping Norton Theatre and Your Local Co-Op were awarded the status of ‘Working to Become Dementia Friendly’ for their commitment to increasing awareness about dementia, and delivering their services in ways that are both accessible to and inclusive of people living with dementia.
Mr Cameron stated: “It is great that Chipping Norton is launching as a Dementia Friendly Community. Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime – and making communities more aware of dementia and improving understanding will make a big difference.”
Anne Gill, Take Part Director at Chippy Theatre added: “The Theatre is delighted to be hosting this event. We have been extending our activities for people living with dementia, including relaxed film screenings and a relaxed performance of our pantomime. It is important to us that we create opportunities to enjoy live theatre or film screenings for people who might otherwise be unable to access them.”
Sarah Peedell, Team Manager at Chippy’s Your Local Co-Op said: “Dementia affects many people in our community, and we’re proud to be making the right steps to becoming a ‘Dementia Friendly’ store. We’re committed to raising awareness about the issues that affect the people of Chipping Norton and making sure all of our products and services are available to all.”
The Co-op Supermarket is already supporting the cause by taking part in sessions to help people living with dementia. This involves training staff in their particular needs, to enable them to remain an active part of the community.
An invitation-only performance of Connie’s Colander followed the launch, with an evening performance open to everyone. Written by playwright, Gaye Poole, the play traces the evolving relationship of retired domestic science teacher, Connie and her daughter, Emily, as they deal with the impact of Connie’s Alzheimer’s.
If you are interested in attending or hosting a free Dementia Friends information session, joining Dementia Friendly Chipping Norton’s steering group, or finding out more about how your organisation can be awarded the status of ‘Working to Become Dementia Friendly’, please contact email@example.com for more details.
The Lights Up Memory Club, an arts-based group for both people living with dementia and their carers, staged a vibrant exhibition of artwork at The Theatre from 21st January to 25th February.
All art and craft was made by members of the group, which is dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of its members – helping people to live well with dementia through enjoyment of the arts.
Philippa Martin attends Chippy’s Lights Up Memory Club with her husband, who lives with Alzheimer’s disease. She spoke of the importance of Lights Up in their lives, and what a significant difference the group makes for them.
“At Lights Up we have an extremely varied programme which is stimulating and lots of fun. I think the emphasis on fun is probably the most valuable aspect, especially for the carers.”
The exhibition was celebrated at the Dementia Friends February launch, with decorations provided by Chippy’s own yarnbomber and cupcakes donated by Victoria Wills of Chipping Norton Tea Set.
The exhibition will travel to the Department of Psychiatry in Oxford in March.
Chipping Norton Co-op staff are also involved with Lights Up, with several members of staff playing a voluntary role in the organisation.
The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesday each month from 10.30am – 12.30pm at Highlands, 73 Burford Road, Chipping Norton. Call 01993 893573 for more info.
Rafiki Thabo Foundation
This Kingham-based charity raises funds to help disadvantaged African youngsters complete their education.
Generous Chippy cafes taking part in the Rafiki Sandwich project raised enough money last year to buy nearly 500 school lunches for hungry students in Uganda.
Through the ‘Eat Well to Learn’ program at Kamuganguzi Janan Lewan Memorial Secondary School, Rafiki Thabo offers school lunches to struggling students who might otherwise have to last a whole school day without food.
The charity has been able to make a real difference by covering the cost of lunches for seventy students who were going hungry every day.
The Chippy eateries taking part in the Rafiki Sandwich scheme so far are the Old Mill, Delicacy Deli, Express Kebab Pizza and Number 24 cafe.
The cost of providing a school meal is 35p. Participants can choose to add this to the cost of the sandwich or meal offered, or ask for the amount to be donated in a collecting tin at the counter.
Rafiki spokesperson Janet Hayes is keen to sign up more Chipping Norton cafes, restaurants and pubs to the scheme in 2016.
Janet says: “Since addressing an Experience Chipping Norton public meeting last year, I’ve been amazed by the local reaction. The Rafiki Sandwich project has really flown since then, and we’d love more local establishments to come aboard.“
Now the charity is gearing up for a World Record charity skydive attempt this summer. The plan is to get at least 350 skydivers doing their jump across eight airfields on the same day. The joint Rafiki-Experience Chipping Norton team will be leaping from the skies above Brackley.
There are a few spaces left! So if you’d like to join in – it’s free as long as you raise £395 in sponsorship for Rafiki Thabo – contact Janet on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/RafikiThabo.