A Harrogate hospice care charity’s has launched a unique project aimed at improving care for people living with dementia, thanks to a £30,000 donation from a local fundraising committee.

The generous donation to Saint Michael’s new Purple Thread project – announced as part of Dementia Action week, May 21 – 27 – has been contributed by the Acorn Committee founded by Louise Hanen, whose father, Luc, was diagnosed with early onset dementia in his early 50s.

Chief Executive of Saint Michael’s Hospice said: “With dementia identified as a leading cause of death in the UK, it is vital that Saint Michael’s responds to increasing needs from our community, who are living longer with more complex illnesses.

“Our new Purple Thread project is an innovative approach to caring for local people living with dementia by weaving bespoke dementia support into the very fabric of all that Saint Michael’s does.

“The project aims to increase personalised, responsive care for people living with dementia who need hospice care  through the creation of dedicated dementia support roles within Saint Michael’s team of experts, collaborative working with local organisations, and bespoke bereavement support for those living with dementia or families and friends experiencing grief.

“Thanks to the Acorn Committee’s remarkable investment in dementia support in our community, we are delighted to be able to launch this ambitious new project.

This project is one of the key strides Saint Michael’s is making towards the goals of its three-year plan, including reaching more people dying at home who would benefit from hospice care and ensuring people living with all terminal illnesses get the care they need.

The gift comes as the Acorn Committee concludes its fundraising efforts, having raised almost  £1.3million since its inception in 1999 with two key aims; to support local people with dementia and their carers and to fund research into scleroderma disease at Leeds General Infirmary.

Dementia support: Members of the Acorn fundraising committee

Louise Hanen said: “We’re very proud that over the past 18 years, The Acorn Committee has been working with the community to help people live well with dementia, supporting dementia charities locally, creating outings, social events and vital support for carers.

“Saint Michael’s care touches so many people in our community. When we heard about the Purple Thread, we knew immediately that it was a project that perfectly fitted our aims to ensure more people affected by dementia get the right care and support at the end of their lives. This donation is our way of making this vision a reality. ”

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