Regtransfers.co.uk, the UK's largest supplier of private number plates, has donated a personalised number plate to help with a new Alzheimer's Society project.
The Society approached Regtransfers with the intention of purchasing AS07 BUS for their new "Wellbeing Bus". The bus, operated by the Cardiff & The Vale branch of Alzheimer's Society, offers a cosy space for carers of those with dementia-related illnesses to access a wide range of information on useful services, such as benefits, help lines, legal issues, support groups, respite care, statutory and voluntary agencies in the area.
A unique aspect of this bus is the separate space where carers can receive holistic therapies such as reflexology or Indian head massage to help relieve the stress of caring. It is widely accepted that improved support for carers results in better care and a better quality of life for the carers’ loved ones.
The Wellbeing bus is visiting various Cardiff communities and, with the kind permission of Cardiff County Council, has been taking up position in the car parks of local leisure and community centres. The new bus, named "Primrose", will offer valuable support to carers, and will also serve to publicise the Society's work.
The number of carers in Cardiff of someone with a dementia therefore could be said to be close to 8,000 particularly if the person with dementia has a living partner and children. The national specialist journal of dementia and mental health care for older people, Signpost, highlights the importance of the role of the carer not only as a primary source of care but also as a key factor in the improvement of the quality of life of the person with dementia.
Retired GP Dr Bob Fay, himself suffering from fronto-temporal dementia, says, "The carer's quality of life and coping ability directly affects the quality of life of the sufferer. Therefore, if the carer's going under, the sufferer goes with them. If the carer is supported and can tackle the situation creatively, the quality of life of the person with dementia is obviously improved."
(Source: Signpost Volume 8 Number 3 February 2004)
"In view of the above, the Society is doubly pleased to be able to provide help to carers of people with dementia in what could be deemed a truly holistic way," says Branch Manager Dawn John whose idea it was to offer this unique and innovative service.
The bus will be visiting different communities of Cardiff from Radyr to St Mellons, Splott to Thornhill, parking in the majority of leisure and community centres’ car parks thanks to the help of Cardiff Council Culture, Leisure and Parks. It is hoped that support groups can be set up in the future to promote healthy living and wellbeing with carers taking advantage of the many social groups, exercise and wellbeing programmes available to the Cardiff Community.
Finally, Alzheimer's Society director for Wales, Ian Thomas says, "This is a brand new and original project and we are really hoping that this will serve as an excellent example for other areas of the country to benefit from, particularly the more rural areas where access to services and support is more limited.
“Our towns and cities however have the added advantage of benefiting from the proposed creation and development of local peer support groups where a whole wealth of information, emotional support, and experience can be shared."
When staff brought the purchase of AS07 BUS to the attention of Regtransfers.co.uk's managing director he instructed them to refund the full cost of the registration and number plates.
A spokesman for the company said, "We think promoting a good cause and a great facility like the Alzheimer's Society's new bus is a terrific, constructive use for a personalised registration."
As a charity, the Alzheimer’s Society depends on the generosity of the public to help it care, research and campaign for people with dementia. You can donate now by calling 02920 521872. Additional information about Alzheimer's and the Alzheimer's Society is available online at www.alzheimers-society.org.
The address of the Society's Cardiff office is:
Heol Don Resource Centre, Heol Don, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 2XG