The Story of the Campaign
When Joyce Dainty donated £20 after reading about a new campaign to support patients with dementia at West Suffolk Hospital, she had no idea what she was starting.
The campaign run by the My WiSH Charity aspired to raise £25,000 to support patients with dementia, their families and carers. The figure would fund a specialist day room in ward G4 and also a memory walk allowing patients to be guided around a calming corridor of reminiscence to evoke memories and encourage conversation.
While very different aspirations, both projects served a similar purpose – to allow patients with dementia a chance to move away from the traditional hospital environment and provide some comfort during what could be a distressing time.
Dave Gooderham, then fundraising manager of the hospital charity, admits there was a period of uncertainty when the campaign was launched – after all, dementia was largely a taboo subject two years ago.
It was hoped the campaign would also tackle this, entwining a fundraising ask with raising awareness of dementia and challenging and changing perceptions. Quite simply, getting more and more people talking openly about it.
Hospital launches Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign
A year-long appeal aimed at further enhancing the environment for patients with dementia has been launched by West Suffolk Hospital Charity.
The campaign, run in partnership with the Mercury series of newspapers and the East Anglian Daily Times, is looking to raise £25,000 as well as awareness of the condition.
The charity and the dementia team had nothing to worry about.
From the outset, the generous West Suffolk community took the campaign to its heart. The £25,000 initial target was raised within nine months, a year later it had leapt to £70,000. It now stands at more than £95,000.
Explaining the success of the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign, Sue Smith, fundraising manager at My WiSH Charity, said: “We were quickly blown away by the generosity of the local community towards such an important appeal.
“I think it became so successful so quickly for a number of reasons – it allowed people who had been touched by dementia a local platform to give something back, to say thank you or to simply help.
“It gave them, and us, a perfect opportunity to really highlight dementia, the issues around it and the support available to families – both in the hospital and in the community. We worked very hard to end any stigma around dementia.
“The other reason was the reputation and love the hospital has across the West Suffolk community. Fundraising for a hospital is a very good indicator of how highly it is regarded.
"We have an exceptional dementia team really making a difference and this was translated into the fundraising appeal."
West Suffolk Hospital signs dementia pledge
A campaign to ensure carers of dementia sufferers are given greater access to loved ones has been officially supported by West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
The trust has become one of the first 100 hospitals to sign up to ‘John’s Campaign’, an initiative started by Suffolk author Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, which sees members state publicly that they welcome carers of those with dementia whenever the patient needs them.
You can make a donation via our Just Giving page or to find out more about supporting the appeal contact the My WiSH Charity fundraising team on 01284 712952.
Click here to view some more of our fundraising highlights