ECL and Colchester Castle team up to help older people with dementia and Alzheimer’s

ECL Colchester – Marylands day centre has teamed up with Colchester Castle to provide reminiscence sessions for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

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The team at Marylands is working with Colchester Castle to offer this important therapy for older people in the community living with these conditions.

The partnership between the two organisations came about when the team at Marylands were looking for new community-based activities for its customers.

The centre reached out to Colchester Castle to organise a visit and the relationship grew from there.

Marylands began regular visits as part of its activities and it was during these trips that the Marylands shared their knowledge of dementia and the benefits of reminiscence therapy for people with living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

This inspired Colchester Castle to offer reminiscence sessions for older people in the community as a way of being a more inclusive and dementia friendly attraction.

Working with ECL Marylands to develop and deliver reminiscence sessions is an amazing opportunity. Feedback from their customer visits has given us inspiration and the courage to expand our service and become a more inclusive dementia friendly environment.

The staff at the Castle thoroughly enjoy the interaction with ECL customers and are delighted with the wonderful warm friendly responses. We are looking forward to future collaboration and opportunities to expand the sessions and create more dementia friendly events.

Alyson Mortiboys, Senior Duty Officer, Colchester and Ipswich Museums

Reminiscence therapy involves discussing events and experiences from the past and aims to evoke memories and stimulate mental activity which, for a person with dementia, gives comfort, a sense of competence and confidence and improves wellbeing because it allows them to use a skill they still have.

We were trying to think of more ways to get our customers out in the community, so I reached out to Colchester Castle, and once I told them about Marylands, they really wanted to support our customers by offering us some free visits.

The team there are working to increase inclusion and spoke to us about starting reminiscence sessions for older people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s become a partnership; we take our customers to enjoy the Castle and at the same time, share our knowledge of dementia and how to run a reminiscence session with them.

Visits like this have a massive impact on our customers. One particular customer, Carmen has limited mobility and even though she lives with her family, they're both working and she can't get out on her own. Coming to the day centre and participating in visits like this are a lifeline for her. We’re trying to build our offering at ECL to give everyone the opportunity to go out and be part of the community. Our customers have all had busy lives, careers, and some of them have been parents - just because you’re older it doesn’t mean your live should just stop.

Anne Skerritt, Community Care Assistant, ECL

ECL’s Older People service has day centre locations all over Essex.

For more information and to book a free taster session visit:

For more information about Colchester Castle visit

Read Carmen’s story

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