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That is some height! In today's Community Life,
join me as we explore the importance of trees in our lives.
OK, so, here we go!
And we're getting back on our bikes as the over-fifties are being
encouraged to return to two-wheeled transport.
But first on Community Life, have you ever wondered what life
would be like if you were given a dementia diagnosis?
Well, one charity believes their members' lives
can still be full and rewarding.
Our special reporter today is John, who himself has dementia.
'I'm John. At first look, I'm a normal guy.'
I also live with dementia.
Dementia is a term for a collection of symptoms that rob people of
their memories and brainpower.
'It affects my life in lots of ways,
'but it doesn't mean that I can't talk for myself.
'I can still make decisions.'
I helped set up Dementia NI.
It's a charity that supports people with the same diagnosis as me,
because we can still live happy and fulfilled lives.
We challenge the stigma of our diagnosis.
There are around 20,000 people
living with dementia in Northern Ireland.
We promote our rights and strive
to make sure we get the services and support we need.
So, somebody who gets dementia, like myself...
Dementia NI members give talks and share our experiences in the
hope that others can understand the condition.
Dementia NI was really set up to enable people with dementia
to have their voices heard.
We want more people to be aware of how they can help us maintain
our independence within our community.
Dementia NI is a unique organisation led by people living with
dementia, supported by staff and volunteers.
People will be surprised to see you out and about driving a car.
You have a diagnosis of dementia.
I know, John. I have been diagnosed with dementia,
but that doesn't mean that I'm not still active and like getting about.
It's fantastic to see people like you about.
Other people don't realise that people with dementia still
-have a life.
-Life's for the living!
And with dementia, you just don't lie down.
This is Ronnie. Ronnie has been living with dementia for five years.
He lives in supported housing
and at first felt very isolated after his diagnosis.
Beforehand, he was very depressed and he wouldn't want out of
the house, but since he's joined Dementia IN, you can't keep him in.
He likes to get out and about with Dementia NI and
he likes to get the awareness across.
Ronnie also speaks at events,
explaining what it's like to live with dementia.
Dementia NI has given me confidence to learn
and get out for a couple of hours on a Friday,
and I like it.
There are more people living with dementia now than ever before.
Dementia NI helps us live life to the full.
Some of our members can still drive, but for the likes of me and
a lot of the other ones, I had to return my licence.
So unless you came along and helped us,
I would still be stuck in the house.
Volunteers are a vital part of what we do.
Taking them, driving them to places, I get a lot of satisfaction, because
it's a situation where you're doing something and it's of direct
benefit to people, and they appreciate it very, very much.
And it can make an amazing difference to people's lives.
For me, public transport is really hard for me to do.
I can't go anywhere on my own,
or I would forget where I was going and not be able to get to the place.
So people like Eamonn taking me to places I need to go
gives me that freedom back. It gives me my social life back again.
It makes me feel part of society again and doesn't exclude me.
Our activities help reduce isolation and allow our
members to remain a part of society for as long as possible.
We invite other organisations and service providers to come to
our meetings and to hear what we have to say.
Dementia NI takes our message out into the community, because we need
to raise awareness and improve the lives of everyone who has dementia.
If you live with dementia and would like to be involved,
we would love to hear from you.
We need volunteers to help
with travel and to support us at meetings.
Any donations you could make would be greatly appreciated to
help us continue our work.
If you would like to make a donation to Dementia NI,
then go to our web page and click on the Donate button.
And visit the charity's web page at dementiani.org
for more information about how you or a relative can become involved.
This is the first time I've been on a bike in almost five years.
To encourage older people to return to cycling,
a special course has been running in Belfast,
and it has reinvigorated the people taking part.
The first stage of the course is in a traffic-free environment,
reintroducing them to the bike, and then we move on to the street
environment, which is what we've been doing today, teaching them
about where to ride on the road, riding along safely,
sharing space with other motorists and with other pedestrians,
and then to negotiate when they come to junctions,
where they should be, where they should be looking and how
to anticipate how motorists are going to behave.
Well, thankfully, so far the traffic has been sort of very limited,
but it gives you a bit more encouragement to go somewhere
else on your own bike. On your bike, as they say!
I would say that people should stop thinking about it,
just get on their bikes and go and do it,
because thinking about it isn't getting you anywhere!
I look forward to spending many more years on the road now I've
been bitten by the bug!
This course is being run today for Volunteer Now.
If anyone wants to take part in the course,
they can directly contact me at Sustrans,
in our Belfast office, and we can organise a group for them to
join or a tailor-made group for them themselves.
Now, I'm heading up this tree to find out about
a special campaign to recognise the value of trees in our lives.
Did I mention I do not like heights?
Patrick, I have interviewed people in many weird and wonderful
places, but never up a tree. What's happening today?
We're here at Carnmoney Hill as we launch another initiative, and it's
a call to people to actually help us to compile a charter for trees.
Tell me more about this tree charter. What actually is it?
We asked people over the last year to tell us why trees were
important to them. We've gathered all those stories.
We will produce a charter,
and that charter will help to guide our work in the years to come.
What are we like, Patrick, for woodland cover in Northern Ireland?
Sadly, we're bottom of the league table.
We've got about 8% woodland cover. When we look further afield in
Europe, they've got a whopping 46% cover.
So we're very, very much behind, and lots need to be done.
If people want to get in touch, Patrick, how do they do that?
It's as easy as just go online,
feed in Tree Charter and follow the directions,
and then you have an opportunity to be involved in what is an
absolutely fantastic initiative.
Right, well, Patrick, don't let me hold you back any longer.
More information on the tree charter can be found on our website,
where you'll also find contact details for today's programme
and, of course, our community notice board.
Hopefully, I will get down from here before it gets too dark!
I'll see you next time. Bye-bye.
Right, Patrick, you first.
Community Life: An appeal by Dementia NI for support and volunteers, and news about a new Tree Charter to protect our woodlands.