The Living Well with Dementia Project in Hebburn has stepped back in time at Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, to help its members recall old memories and make news ones with their families.

The group, which aims to support families and individuals living with dementia, has been able to organise this activity after being awarded £250 from Venator’s £10,000 Together Fund.

Global chemical company Venator, the experts in pigments and additives which has its HQ at Wynyard Park, established its Together Fund in July 2018 to support communities where its employees live and work. Successful applicants went head to head with scores of community and sporting groups in an online vote involving 65,000 people region-wide.

The winning groups, including two from South Tyneside, received a grant of £250 towards activities that inspire teamwork, one of Venator’s core values.

Grants were awarded to: South Shields Under 8s WHITES and the Living Well with Dementia Project.

The Living Well with Dementia Project supports approximately 20 families and meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 2pm in St Aloysius Church Hall, Hebburn. The community organisation, set-up with the aim of challenging any negativity surrounding dementia, runs specialist stimulating activities to engage and bring pleasure to those living with dementia. This year, thanks to the funding it has received from Venator’s Together Fund, the group is taking its members to Beamish for a tailored afternoon of activity – from baking to singing – to reminisce and enjoy quality time with their carers.

Maureen Cairns, Community Librarian, said: “As a group we were delighted to win the grant as it enabled us to make the wishes of our members become possibilities.

“Thanks to the Venator Together Fund we’ve been able to book for several small groups of our members to visit the cottage at Beamish along with their carers, to enjoy an afternoon of activities to help stimulate memories and to achieve something they may not have thought possible due to the constraints placed on them because of their illness.

“This kind of experience for our group is greatly beneficial. It’s a new experience in a safe environment with friendly faces. We have several husband and wife couples who attend the group and opportunities like this enable them to have a shared experience they both enjoy.

“We found the whole application process very easy and were pleasantly surprised at the support we received during the voting process. It was also very encouraging to see the range of other groups who applied for funding and inspiring that there were so many other types of projects. We would be happy to apply for future grants and would recommend others to participate.”

Karen Fenwick, Vice President Corporate Branding and Communications at Venator, said: “It’s great to hear how the grants are actually spent and that they do make a difference to schools, teams and community groups across the North East.

“With over 600 employees across the North East, we think it’s important to give back to the communities where we live and work. Congratulations to all who received an award and for those that weren’t successful this time, our Together Fund will be reopening for entries after the summer!”

Venator is a New York Stock Exchange listed business with its global HQ at Wynyard. The company established its £20,000 Community Fund in July 2018 in a bid to support the communities in which its employees live and work through supporting projects that align with their values. The £20,000 Venator Community Fund incorporates The Together Fund and The Bright Ideas Fund.