Dementia Care has installed the Tree of Memories at the front entrance of its Bradbury Centre headquarters in Brunswick Village, to the north of Newcastle.
Half of the cost of the project has been met through a £5,000 grant from regional employer The Banks Group, via the community fund linked to its nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine, with the remainder being raised through other local funders and the charity itself.
Each of the tree’s 450 gold, silver and bronze leaves can be bought for a donation to the charity and inscribed with the name of an individual, with a donors’ board also being put in place alongside it.
And just a few weeks after the Tree was installed, families have already donated for 11 leaves in memory of loved ones.
The Tree has been installed behind a glass door to ensure it is visible to the local community as well as to people visiting the Bradbury Centre. It was officially unveiled by Emmerdale actor John Middleton, whose character Ashley Thomas has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.
The award-winning Dementia Care charity offers a range of services to those with dementia and their families, including 24 hour support in their own homes, independent living houses, day centres in Newcastle and Hexham and respite care, and has been hailed by the Government as an example of good practice.
Its 155-strong team provides specialist care for more than 200 people every week, which equates to over 165,000 hours of care every year, and also helps carers and family members through offering training and advice on practical care support, and when needed, specialised respite care.
David Stevens, chief executive at Dementia Care, says: “More and more people now come into contact with dementia, and we regularly receive donations from all over the UK in memory of people with dementia who have passed away.
“The Tree of Memories will now allow people to create a lasting memory to their loved one, whilst supporting our vital work of caring for people living with dementia and their families.
“With demand for our services growing ever greater, the work that we do to ensure we can deliver what’s required has never been more important, and this project will be a key part of our fundraising strategy for the coming years.
“The generous support we’ve had from the Banks Group has enabled us to move this important project forward more quickly than we otherwise would have been able to, and their contribution is already having a positive impact on our overall fundraising work.”
Jeannie Kielty, development relations
coordinator at The Banks Group, adds: “This wonderful project will allow families across the region to create a long-lasting tribute to their loved ones while also raising money for an invaluable North East charity, and we’re proud to have been part of its creation.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.