Sid Valley digs deep to reach £100k target for campaign

Admiral Nurse campaing members celebrate after having reached their target. Ref shs 24-16AW 0265. Pi

Admiral Nurse campaing members celebrate after having reached their target. Ref shs 24-16AW 0265. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

We did it! An Admiral Nurse will come to the Sid Valley this year after 13 months of ‘amazing’ and ‘overwhelming’ support.

In an appeal led by The Sid Valley Memory Café, fundraisers have said ‘not a week went by’ without the full backing of residents supporting the charity’s dream of raising an initial target of £100,000.

This week the charity has written to the ‘real heroes’ of the appeal, the community, to thank them for ensuring the area will have its own nurse and joining the campaign from the outset.

Since its launch last May residents have ‘dug deep’ to push the appeal’s funds up towards the initial six figure sum, which will cover the cost of employing a specialist for two years.

Adrian Ford, trustee of the memory café, said: “The real heroes of our campaign are the community here in the Sid Valley who have responded with such generosity to our appeal. Since we launched our campaign in May of last year, not a week has passed during which we have not been overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and support of people and organisations in our area.

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“Private individuals have dug deep in their pockets to donate to the campaign and many many organisations have organised events to raise money so that the Sid Valley can have its own Admiral Nurse.”

The charity set in motion the idea of fundraising for an Admiral Nurse 18 months ago before launching a partnership with the Herald in May last year.

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Chairman of the memory café Rachel Johnstone said from the start the heart of the campaign was the charity’s desire to do more to help families living with dementia.

She said: “For six years, the Sid Valley Memory Café has brought together people living with dementia, their family and friends to offer support, friendship, fun activities and outings and to ensure that both carers and the cared for don’t feel so alone when faced with a diagnosis of dementia.

“However, the team of volunteers who run the memory café wanted to be able to offer more, in particular, reaching out to families who need specialist practical and emotional support through periods of difficulty when carers are under the most stress.”

She added that the ‘generous’ contributions put the charity in a position to offer more to families.

At its official launch more than a year ago, Duncan Watt, chairman of trustees at the memory café, said he was sure the town would rise to the challenge.

At the time he said: “It is a David and Goliath situation – we can’t do this unless the town fully supports this campaign. It is a challenge, but one I am sure we can all rise to.”

Last week the campaign received a letter from the Prime Minister who commended the ‘positive reaction’ of the committee and community in its fundraising.

David Cameron praised the ‘fantastic effort’ to provide support to an estimated 700 people in the area who are estimated to live with dementia.

In 13 months, residents have raised money through sponsored walks, cream teas, talks, open gardens, sky dives and private donations, spurred

The Admiral Nurse Campaign has received substantial backing from local groups including Sidmouth Hospiscare, the Rotary Club of Sidmouth and the Salcombe Regis Fair which raised more than £20,000 between them.

Sidmouth Town Council donated a further £10,000 from its Woolley Bequest fund with further instructions to contribute £5,000 per year for the next five years once the nurse was in place.

Chairman of the council councillor Jeff Turner said members had ‘no hesitation’ to support the campaign.

The council’s support will boost the charity with its long term project of raising £50,000 a year to cover the costs of the nurse.

Mr Ford said: “Whilst we are over the moon about reaching our initial target and ensuring that we have an Admiral Nurse in the Valley this year, we are also conscious that this a long term project and that we will need to continue fundraising in order to meet the annual cost of our Admiral Nurse which currently stands at approximately £50,000 per annum.

“Thank-you for ensuring that we have an Admiral Nurse here in the Sid Valley, who we know will make a huge difference to so many families living with dementia in our area.”

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