CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

Dementia Action With The Bentham Line

During Dementia Action Week, the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (CRP) attended an event held in Leeds Civic Hall on Thursday 18th May alongside Northern Trains Ltd. and with many other groups and organisations providing services to those living with dementia.

We were able to share our experiences of working to establish the Bentham Line as a dementia-friendly railway. This has been achieved through consideration of the station and train environments, raising staff, and volunteer awareness through dementia friends sessions; and arranging visits which are geared to supporting those living with dementia and their carers.

“These trips allow individuals to experience feelings from the past as they travel to the seaside or country by train and provide an opportunity to reminisce,” said Rod Tickner, vice chair of the CRP. He is an Alzheimer Society’s Dementia Friends Ambassador and often is involved with raising awareness with groups along the 75 miles of the dementia-friendly railway. “It is important to maintain independence for those living with dementia and being able to travel safely and easily is very much part of that, ” he added.

Maxine Myers and Elliott Bateson of Northern Trains with Rod Tickner of the CRP.

The event was arranged by Dementia Friendly Leeds and there was a short presentation by Tim Sanders, Leeds Dementia Commissioner, and Warren, who is living with dementia spoke about his own experiences of being diagnosed. He was from the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP) a national project for dementia voices.

Recently, we took the Bentham Wednesday Lunch Club by train to Carnforth to have lunch in the celebrated station buffet, made famous in the 1945 film ‘Brief encounter’, followed by a tour of the various displays in then adjacent Heritage Centre to help those living with dementia to recall memories of their youth. The entire site is under cover so even if the weather is awful a pleasant outing is assured.

Some of the contented people in the dining room of the Brief Encounter Bistro at Carnforth Station.

The CRP is happy to arrange visits to a variety of places, suitable for those living with dementia along the Leeds-Morecambe route. For those nearer Lancaster the possible visits could be to Skipton, Keighley or Saltaire. Whilst for those living nearer to Leeds: Morecambe or Carnforth. Bentham’s sensory farm and the Forest of Bowland are potential destinations for groups from both ends of the line. Please contact us by telephone on 015242 98940 or by email if you wish to pursue this;