21/05/2017 Community Life


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21/05/2017

An appeal by Dementia NI for support and volunteers, and news about a new Tree Charter to protect the nation's woodlands.


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That is some height! In today's Community Life,

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join me as we explore the importance of trees in our lives.

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OK, so, here we go!

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And we're getting back on our bikes as the over-fifties are being

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encouraged to return to two-wheeled transport.

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But first on Community Life, have you ever wondered what life

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would be like if you were given a dementia diagnosis?

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Well, one charity believes their members' lives

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can still be full and rewarding.

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Our special reporter today is John, who himself has dementia.

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'I'm John. At first look, I'm a normal guy.'

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I also live with dementia.

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Dementia is a term for a collection of symptoms that rob people of

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their memories and brainpower.

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'It affects my life in lots of ways,

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'but it doesn't mean that I can't talk for myself.

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'I can still make decisions.'

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I helped set up Dementia NI.

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It's a charity that supports people with the same diagnosis as me,

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because we can still live happy and fulfilled lives.

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We challenge the stigma of our diagnosis.

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There are around 20,000 people

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living with dementia in Northern Ireland.

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We promote our rights and strive

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to make sure we get the services and support we need.

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So, somebody who gets dementia, like myself...

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Dementia NI members give talks and share our experiences in the

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hope that others can understand the condition.

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Dementia NI was really set up to enable people with dementia

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to have their voices heard.

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We want more people to be aware of how they can help us maintain

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our independence within our community.

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Dementia NI is a unique organisation led by people living with

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dementia, supported by staff and volunteers.

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-Hi, John!

-Hi, Frances!

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People will be surprised to see you out and about driving a car.

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You have a diagnosis of dementia.

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I know, John. I have been diagnosed with dementia,

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but that doesn't mean that I'm not still active and like getting about.

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It's fantastic to see people like you about.

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Other people don't realise that people with dementia still

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-have a life.

-Life's for the living!

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And with dementia, you just don't lie down.

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This is Ronnie. Ronnie has been living with dementia for five years.

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He lives in supported housing

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and at first felt very isolated after his diagnosis.

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Beforehand, he was very depressed and he wouldn't want out of

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the house, but since he's joined Dementia IN, you can't keep him in.

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He likes to get out and about with Dementia NI and

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he likes to get the awareness across.

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Ronnie also speaks at events,

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explaining what it's like to live with dementia.

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Dementia NI has given me confidence to learn

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and get out for a couple of hours on a Friday,

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and I like it.

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There are more people living with dementia now than ever before.

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Dementia NI helps us live life to the full.

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Some of our members can still drive, but for the likes of me and

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a lot of the other ones, I had to return my licence.

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So unless you came along and helped us,

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I would still be stuck in the house.

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Volunteers are a vital part of what we do.

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Taking them, driving them to places, I get a lot of satisfaction, because

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it's a situation where you're doing something and it's of direct

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benefit to people, and they appreciate it very, very much.

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And it can make an amazing difference to people's lives.

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For me, public transport is really hard for me to do.

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I can't go anywhere on my own,

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or I would forget where I was going and not be able to get to the place.

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So people like Eamonn taking me to places I need to go

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gives me that freedom back. It gives me my social life back again.

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It makes me feel part of society again and doesn't exclude me.

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Our activities help reduce isolation and allow our

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members to remain a part of society for as long as possible.

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We invite other organisations and service providers to come to

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our meetings and to hear what we have to say.

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Dementia NI takes our message out into the community, because we need

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to raise awareness and improve the lives of everyone who has dementia.

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If you live with dementia and would like to be involved,

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we would love to hear from you.

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We need volunteers to help

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with travel and to support us at meetings.

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Any donations you could make would be greatly appreciated to

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help us continue our work.

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Thank you.

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If you would like to make a donation to Dementia NI,

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then go to our web page and click on the Donate button.

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And visit the charity's web page at dementiani.org

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for more information about how you or a relative can become involved.

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This is the first time I've been on a bike in almost five years.

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To encourage older people to return to cycling,

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a special course has been running in Belfast,

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and it has reinvigorated the people taking part.

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The first stage of the course is in a traffic-free environment,

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reintroducing them to the bike, and then we move on to the street

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environment, which is what we've been doing today, teaching them

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about where to ride on the road, riding along safely,

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sharing space with other motorists and with other pedestrians,

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and then to negotiate when they come to junctions,

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where they should be, where they should be looking and how

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to anticipate how motorists are going to behave.

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Well, thankfully, so far the traffic has been sort of very limited,

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but it gives you a bit more encouragement to go somewhere

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else on your own bike. On your bike, as they say!

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I would say that people should stop thinking about it,

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just get on their bikes and go and do it,

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because thinking about it isn't getting you anywhere!

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I look forward to spending many more years on the road now I've

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been bitten by the bug!

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This course is being run today for Volunteer Now.

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If anyone wants to take part in the course,

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they can directly contact me at Sustrans,

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in our Belfast office, and we can organise a group for them to

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join or a tailor-made group for them themselves.

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Now, I'm heading up this tree to find out about

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a special campaign to recognise the value of trees in our lives.

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Did I mention I do not like heights?

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Right...

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Patrick, I have interviewed people in many weird and wonderful

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places, but never up a tree. What's happening today?

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We're here at Carnmoney Hill as we launch another initiative, and it's

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a call to people to actually help us to compile a charter for trees.

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Tell me more about this tree charter. What actually is it?

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We asked people over the last year to tell us why trees were

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important to them. We've gathered all those stories.

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We will produce a charter,

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and that charter will help to guide our work in the years to come.

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What are we like, Patrick, for woodland cover in Northern Ireland?

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Sadly, we're bottom of the league table.

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We've got about 8% woodland cover. When we look further afield in

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Europe, they've got a whopping 46% cover.

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So we're very, very much behind, and lots need to be done.

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If people want to get in touch, Patrick, how do they do that?

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It's as easy as just go online,

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feed in Tree Charter and follow the directions,

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and then you have an opportunity to be involved in what is an

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absolutely fantastic initiative.

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Right, well, Patrick, don't let me hold you back any longer.

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More information on the tree charter can be found on our website,

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where you'll also find contact details for today's programme

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and, of course, our community notice board.

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Hopefully, I will get down from here before it gets too dark!

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I'll see you next time. Bye-bye.

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Right, Patrick, you first.

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Thank you!

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Community Life: An appeal by Dementia NI for support and volunteers, and news about a new Tree Charter to protect our woodlands.