Series following officers of Wigan council. Officers help residents with rubbish in their alleyways, assist police with an emergency and help those dealing with dementia.
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From rubbish and recycling...
to potholes and pavements...
Another street down, another street to go.
..educating our children...
-..and caring for the elderly...
-It does make a difference
when you see what can be achieved.
..we rely on our local councils to provide a huge range of services.
You may kiss the bride.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
In this series, we follow front-line staff
working for Wigan Council in Greater Manchester.
Like council offices across the country,
-they're protecting us from hidden dangers...
..stepping in when there's an emergency...
You never know what you're turning up to.
-..and responding to residents...
-Thanks for everything.
-Good job done.
PHONE RINGS ..call the council.
Coming up, council officers get tough
when residents complain about dumped rubbish...
No, it needs to go.
-Have you got bins?
-Who do we need a plate for?
..provide a lifeline to people living with dementia...
I want the community to know about the disease
and to be able to help and support people within their community.
..and help the senior citizens sleep easier at night.
I'm glad they've come because I feel much safer now.
Try opening it and seeing if it's easier for you.
The Local Government Act of 1888 created the councils we know today.
We rely on them for vital services, like emptying our bins,
providing residential housing and taking care of those in need.
-I've been a bit better.
There are now 433 local authorities across the UK,
employing over two million people. One of those is Wigan Council.
Its metropolitan borough covers 77 square miles,
and it's home to over 22,000 residential council properties.
Keeping them in tiptop condition is a never-ending job.
Wigan Council employee Scott Howarth and his apprentice,
Jake Green, are part of a team who make sure that...
and kitchen cupboard is functioning properly.
I've worked for the council probably coming on ten years now.
I wouldn't leave a job that I wouldn't expect to have
done in my own house, so I have got quite decent standards.
All right, Scott, what you after?
The council's maintenance team are given the option to volunteer
-to be on-call for 24 hours on top of their normal duties.
-See you later.
This week, it's Scott's turn.
You do your normal 37-hour week, and then once you get home,
basically, I'm sat at home, I have my telephone
and I just wait for jobs to come in, but they can come in any time.
You might get ten jobs throughout the week,
you could end up with six jobs in a night. Gets me out of house,
saves me watching telly in the house all the time.
Two screaming kids at home, so it is easier to go to work.
It's not high-octane excitement all of the time.
Until an emergency call comes in, Scott
and apprentice Jake have some run-of-the-mill repairs.
Every day is different, which - that's what makes it enjoyable,
I suppose. I wouldn't like thinking I was doing the same job every day.
You're always out and about.
An emergency call could come at any moment.
Right, we'll start in t'kitchen.
We've got other jobs what we need to keep going round.
Obviously, we take the emergencies, but, with an emergency, it is
just a case of a waiting game, obviously.
An emergency is an emergency,
and you don't know when they're going to come in.
When an emergency call does come, Scott has to drop everything.
Just changing a window at Walsh House.
How quick do you want us to get there?
Yeah, no worries, mate.
All right, mate, see you in a bit.
A car has gone through a temporary fence around a building site.
It is the old Wigan nightclub, the old Wigan Pier.
The broken fence could be a risk to motorists and pedestrians,
-so Scott and Jake hit the road to Wigan Pier.
-It is on the highway.
It's part of a tripping hazard in the area, the floor is uneven.
So, yeah, it has been put to t'front of t'queue, so...
The way traffic is at this moment, I'll be there in about 20 minutes.
We're nearly like a fourth emergency service. Well, not yet.
It'd be really good if we did have a blue light,
though, the amount of traffic you sit in.
Immortalised by Georges Orwell and Formby, Wigan Pier now stands empty.
There are plans to redevelop the site as a cultural quarter
over the next ten years, but, for now,
employees like Scott manage the site and keep it safe.
The fence has been pushed off the wall,
whether it has been with kids or by a vehicle.
Obviously, anybody walking down a bit...
short-sighted or anything could end up down the embankment.
So we need to put the fence panels back onto the footpath,
and obviously this bit here has been snapped -
whether it has been by a car - plus there's a foot missing.
So what we'll do, there is
a hire shop just round the corner what sell these panels.
So we'll go there and get a new panel.
And get this back up and running.
Obviously it won't fit in our van.
These lads, their delivery wagons are already out,
so instead of us waiting, it is literally a five-minute walk,
so we might as well walk, otherwise it'll take us longer to
wait for the delivery when it come back, so these two can carry it.
One lad were volunteered, and obviously - apprentice.
I've got the heavy stuff, I've got the clips, let's go. It's all right.
You've got one thing, I've got four. Come on, I've drove over.
There's nothing there, is there?
When you have an apprentice, would you be carrying it,
or would the apprentice be carrying it?
Scott and Jake get to work fixing
and replacing the fencing and making the site safe.
The cars could obviously not realise where the kerb is
and end up down, but I think it is more for pedestrians, really.
What, two foot of a drop?
Obviously, somebody walking down, it is a bit of a bad bend,
as you can see. The vehicles coming past at 40, 50mph.
Once the traffic builds up, and there's people getting their kids coming out of
colleges, people coming out of t'town centre, it is like Brands Hatch.
Time for the last section of fence, and the moment of truth.
This is where it could all go wrong now, because if that doesn't reach that,
we're going to have to move all that up here.
Like that, there you go. We need a bigger panel.
We've now got a two-foot gap, so we're going to have to try
and drag it all this way a little bit. Just wait until all the cars have stopped,
just in case it falls over. Go on.
OK. To you.
Couldn't do that first time again, could you? Not bad for first guess.
OK, job done, let's go home, mate.
Still to come, Scott is called into action again...
We're going in, but they're going to check the door first.
..joining forces with the emergency services in the middle of the night.
There are around 4,000 public libraries across the UK.
In England alone,
councils have invested over £750 million annually into this service.
In Wigan, the council's customer services manager for libraries
is Alison Eaton.
She works closely with events programming officer Rita Devlin.
I care passionately about everything that we deliver in libraries.
We've worked together and worked in the library service
-in Wigan Council for 38 years.
-And very proudly.
-And very proudly.
And I love saying, "Yes, I'm a librarian."
Your job title might not have that in. But that's what I do.
In this day and age, libraries are no longer just about borrowing books.
The libraries deliver on so much and so many agendas.
We're the hub of the community.
Council officers like Alison and Rita play a vital role
supporting the community they serve.
-Are you winning, Doris?
-No, I'm deliberately helping her to win.
Oh. That's what I like to hear.
Magical Memories is their latest initiative.
Inspired by charity The Alzheimer's Society,
the sessions focus on people living with dementia.
-That looks good, doesn't it?
-It looks really good.
It's really eye-catching. She's done a fantastic job.
With the dementia group we run,
a big part of people who are living with dementia feel as
though they're not part of a community, they feel very lonely.
They feel as though they're a burden.
We're helping address that and getting everyone together,
and the social element is just as important as the reminiscence.
Very much so.
There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK.
Caring for them costs the UK economy over £26 billion a year.
In Wigan, one route open to dementia patients and their carers is
to take part in monthly sessions run by Alison and Rita.
I've got the link to all the photographs
taken from the last session.
So we can refresh those, put those up, and let people see themselves.
Let's have a look, that's great.
We have a full programme of different activities,
whether it is music, whether it is objects,
lots and lots of ideas, to stimulate the mind.
And to stir those memories up a bit.
One couple benefiting from Magical Memories are Vince
and Mary Mather, who have been married for 59 years.
We're going to have a look at our wedding album. Do you remember this?
-You remember this book? You wrote all this out, didn't you?
In April 2011, Mary was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Do you not remember this? Do you not?
This is Mary Ellesmere, that's you. Isn't it? Or it was.
-What have you put that for?
-You put that down, that's your writing.
-Yes, you did.
-Did I heck.
-Oh, you did a long time ago.
-I did not.
The council sessions like the one we have at the library are good
because she loves watching other people.
You can see her smile, laughing at other people. It relaxes her.
Now, who's that? 'She can't really take part in the bingos.
'She'll do a little bit of singing.
'I mean, she knows the words to a hell of a lot of songs.'
I don't know why, but she does remember them all.
You know, from the 1950s and '60s and that.
Now, there you are, see?
You don't deserve what you've got, sweetheart. You don't, honestly.
'Unless you're going through it, or have actually gone through it,'
to look after someone like that with dementia,
there's nobody can tell you what it's like. Nobody can describe it.
It is indescribable. Basically.
Alison and Rita know first hand what caring for someone with
dementia is like.
If we put this out, I think, because it has got the issues.
Rita and I have personal experience of dementia, in that our parents...
My dad is 92 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's
probably about, er, three, four years ago.
So I'm very, very passionate about it.
I get a lot of satisfaction out of my job, but this is that
little bit more special to me because of where I'm coming from.
Still to come, Mary and Vince take a musical trip down memory lane.
Did everybody get that one?
Around 28 million tonnes of household waste is thrown
away in the UK every single year.
Disposing of this waste affects each and everyone of us, so it's
no surprise the Great British public have a lot to say on the issue.
We've got recycling, we've got food bins, we've got glass bins,
as well, and, to be honest, it has been running smoothly at the moment.
This cul-de-sac I live in,
we've just changed over to wheelie bins, and the people up here
did not know what was supposed to be put out this week.
If you've got a computer, you can go in and have a look,
but if you haven't, you have to rely on neighbours.
We've had an issue with the bins, the council have sorted that out.
They came down straightaway, sorted it out, that was quite good to see.
Because I've heard they can be a bit, well, a bit slow in a way,
in some aspects. But that was quite good how they acted straight on.
I still haven't got my head around the fortnightly bin collection.
That's still a little bit difficult and in, you know,
certain areas, um, that's causing a lot of fly tipping.
Wigan Council receives over 35,000 calls a year about waste.
And environmental enforcement officer Alex Kay's job is to
make sure that the streets
and alleyways of the borough are free from unwanted waste.
People have a right to live in a clean environment.
We provide the necessary bins to get rid of the waste,
household waste, and not everybody does that.
People end up having to live next door to people who maybe
don't deal with their waste properly, and accumulate waste.
Today, he's responding to a resident who has called the council about
rubbish building up in back alleys and gardens close to their home.
I think I've already been here once before and asked our team to pick
the waste up because we couldn't establish where it had come from.
But then we've had another complaint about the same thing,
so either they've not picked the original waste up, or...
..there's more stuff being dumped, so we'll go have a look.
Alex has been with the council for 12 years
and is well versed in the laws about property,
residents and their responsibilities.
Under the Environmental Protection Act, and also the new Antisocial Behaviour Act,
we do have powers to, if we believe there's a nuisance being caused,
then obviously we can enter people's back gardens and the like.
But, you know, we can't just willy-nilly go be walking into people's back gardens,
but we, you know,
use your common sense and deal with it that way.
Rotten refuse isn't just smelly and an eyesore, it attracts vermin like
flies and, more worryingly, rats, which can spread Weil's disease.
So, as you can see on this street, there's quite
a lot of properties to let.
So there's a lot of turnover of tenants.
And, you know, that causes a lot of problems because...
with it being a high turnover, a lot of tenants are just in and out
and they leave waste in the back.
Alex has the power to serve a nuisance abatement notice to persistent offenders.
If they don't clean up their act, and their rubbish,
the council will do it for them, billing them for the cost.
There is some waste in the alley up and down, little bits, it is...
This is the same stuff that was here last time.
But one thing, just looking at that gate there, that gate is wide open.
We put alley gates on to stop antisocial behaviour
and to stop people from being able to get into alleys to fly-tip.
If the residents just leave them open, we're fighting a bit of losing battle. But...
There's no shortage of rubbish building up in the far from private back alleys,
but Alex has been called out about one house in particular.
So, this is what has been reported to us, as well.
Alex heads round the front of the house to speak to the resident.
If he can clear up the situation on the ground now,
it will save a lot of time and money in the long run.
Hi, love, I'm from Wigan Council waste services.
Just about all the stuff in the alleyway at the back.
-There's a mattress and some black bags.
-But there's a hitch.
-In the back alley, at the back.
-None of the residents speak English.
Hi, are you all right? It's just about the waste in the back
alley way. You know, in the back?
-I don't speak English.
-Right. Should I show you? This.
-Alex is an experienced negotiator.
-I need that to go.
-But he doesn't speak Romanian.
-Who's your landlord?
-I don't speak.
-Oh, right. All right.
-No, it needs to go.
Have you got bins? Have you not got bins?
It is about this here. Can't stay there.
The residents have one green bin for garden and food waste, but they should
also have three more for general waste, paper, glass and plastics.
Have you got bins? Is that yours? No.
-Have you got a blue one and a brown one?
Yeah, it's all right. I'll find out who your landlord is, I'll contact your landlord.
Increasingly diverse populations mean that many councils
employ teams of translators to make sure all residents can
access their services.
But today, it's up to Alex to try and cross the cultural divide.
Language is a problem quite often with us now.
You get families who move into properties,
and nobody really explains them what they've got to do.
With regards to the waste, you know, they don't know
when the binmen come, they don't know what waste goes in which
bin, so we end up with contaminated bins or end up with waste
accumulations like we've got now.
It's a rubbish situation for Alex, but in what appears to be
the residents' eagerness to resolve the situation, they've
called in an English-speaking friend to translate.
I need this... Basically, they are going to have to get rid of this.
-So, how are we doing?
-Well, you can take it to the tip.
-Have you got a car?
They have a car, but... Where are we to bring it?
To the waste recycling centre. It is only a couple of miles away.
-If I give you the address.
-Yes, but we can do it now.
-So long as you do it by the beginning of next week.
Is that all right?
And then what I'll do is, I'll drop them off a green, a brown and a blue bin.
-And with a notice telling them exactly what goes in what bin.
Is that all right? And then hopefully you should have
enough room in here then, just for the rest of the waste.
-Is that all right? I'll leave that with you.
Things are looking more promising.
It looks like Alex's firm but fair approach might pay off.
It is about using a bit of common sense and working together for the best resolution.
And making sure they know what they're doing going forward,
and then that should, hopefully, stop the problem.
Alex will be back on Monday.
But will the mattress and the rest of the rubbish still be here?
All right, Scott, what you after?
This week, council joiner Scott Howarth is on call.
In addition to his regular duties, for the next 24 hours he's
required to respond when the public call the council with an emergency.
See you later.
He's ten hours into a shift which has already seen him
fix a dangerous fence.
Couldn't do that first time again, could you? Not a bad for a first guess.
Right, job done, let's go home, mate.
Having secured it, Scott stays on call, ready to respond to any
-emergencies while coaching his son's football team.
Oh, three, Blues.
Phone in pocket, still on, nothing at the moment.
I'm expecting to get there as soon as, depending on what the job
is, but they don't expect you just sitting there and doing nothing.
Still on call. No rest for the wicked.
-A tenant has called the council with an emergency.
-Luckily enough, Scott has still got his eye on the ball.
-Right, there you go.
A lady's locked out, basically. Sat outside the property.
With a young child.
I'll go home and get changed, put my work clothes back on.
-And go back to work.
-Can I go get a drink?
Right, yeah, go in, all get a drink.
A quick trip home to collect his van,
and Scott's soon back out on council business.
But there's fresh information about the job he's duty-bound to attend.
Somehow they've managed to lock themselves in the house,
and they've not got a key to get out the house.
So it's classed as an emergency
because obviously they can't get out through the front door.
Just in case there was a fire.
Obviously they need their access to get out the property.
I got it about 25 minutes ago.
They want us to respond within a two-hour window.
At the caller's house, Scott is beckoned to the back door.
-It's this way?
-Which is open.
-It's the front door that he's been asked to fix.
-What have you done?
-Have you just lost your keys?
-Right, no worries, it's fine.
Obviously, if it's lost keys, I'll take the lock out, put you a new lock in.
-How did you even open the door?
-Because I'm magic.
-This key here, I hope this weren't the key.
It takes Scott less than two minutes to change the lock.
Right, keys are in the back of the door. All right.
-That was quick.
-Oh, I don't mess about at this time.
All right, see you again, love.
See you later, bye.
The council is obliged to carry out certain emergency
-work for their tenants.
-See you later.
But they will charge for the service.
That's easy, that's what you want when it's call-ins.
Don't want me hanging about, don't want big jobs.
Just want nice little jobs.
But on a 24-hour callout, Scott never knows what's coming next.
Every now and again, you get the bigger jobs.
You get stolen cars into properties, unsafe buildings,
fire damage. I've had drink drivers,
on occasions, into properties.
So their property then becomes unsafe.
Sure enough, someone else has called the council.
It's another lock-related job.
Right, no worries, mate. Cheers. See you later, mate. Bye.
The lady can't secure the property.
It's 9:20 now.
By the time I get home, it will probably be about 10:30.
Which, as I was out last night at 2:30, 5:30, you know,
I'm getting ready for going home. I want a bit of tea, to be honest.
I'll definitely have done the hours today. All right, love.
Problem with your door?
I'll have a look. The door may just need adjusting.
-I'll have a look and make sure you can do it.
-I was locking up.
And I put my key in the door. And I couldn't get it out.
So I had to send for the council.
Yeah, we come all throughout the night, we make sure we get here.
The barrel is just a bit worn - wear and tear.
It has probably been... There might have been an incident when the door
was fitted, which, looking at it, it's probably at least six,
seven year old.
The weather has got to it, seized a little bit,
and it is just causing a bit of problems. And the lady can't open it, so...
I'm going to put a new lock in it for you.
Just to be on the safe side. And I'll oil it up,
-make sure it is all right.
-Right. You'll come again to do that?
-No, I'm going to do it now.
Yes, of course it is.
-Say that again.
-I don't want you see me with my teeth out.
She doesn't want me to see her with her teeth out.
You'll be all right, don't worry.
Once again, within minutes, Scott's got the job done.
Right, love, do want to just try it, see if it is all right for you?
I'm a little bit more heavy-handed.
Try locking it and see if it's easier for you.
-Yeah? Is that all right for you?
I'm glad they came, because I wasn't looking forward to tonight...
in case, you know, that door wasn't fastening properly
with the key.
I feel much safer now.
And it's all thanks to Scott.
All right, see you again, love. Good night.
The man on call for the council.
Scott is getting some much-needed rest in front of the telly
with his wife, Charlene.
But the callout phone is never far from Scott's side.
I like going helping people.
You know, you get job satisfaction.
I mean, you've made somebody's day.
Under his T-shirt he's got a tattoo.
He thinks he is Superman.
I am Superman.
So much for a quiet night in.
Wigan's very own man of steel is back out,
responding to the latest call for help.
And this one sounds like it could be serious.
The police have asked for the assistance to get into a property.
I come to this property a few week ago.
And the guy had been on some sort of medication.
He was hanging out the bedroom window.
So the police and the paramedics were there.
I gained access for 'em then.
Scott arrives to find the police are already on the scene
of the disturbance.
He's on standby to open the door to the property if required.
But the situation is changing rapidly.
They're going in, but they're going to check the door first.
They were threatened by six of them with the vest
and the helmets on, so...
We'll have a look.
Scott knows his skills could be called on at any moment.
Other than that, he's in the dark.
To be honest, it seems like they've just put the door in.
In an unexpected turn of events, the police abandon the softly,
It looks like Scott's locksmith skills won't be required.
The police have put the door in, so there's no point me going just
yet, because if they take him away
then the front door will need securing. So...
I'll see what happens.
There's little Scott can do now but stick around on standby and wait.
They're in there wrestling with him at the moment.
But, obviously, the front door's open.
We was here if they needed us.
The resident causing the disturbance is
treated in the back of the ambulance.
It's very late and it's very dark,
but Scott is ready to step in and help.
It's all right, no worries.
They had no electric on in there,
so as they entered they struggled a bit so they wanted a light.
If 'owt, a light come in use.
Wigan Council saves the day, eh?
-All right, cheers, I'll see you later.
It's three in the morning,
but finally peace is restored to this Wigan street.
The police have all gone, the paramedics have gone.
We're still here, though, making sure everything's safe.
Erm, the property's safe.
The light's away now, but when I get home, I'll put that light on charge.
Onwards and upwards, eh?
Back home, unless the phone rings.
Environmental enforcement officer Alex has been responding to
complaints that rubbish is constantly being
dumped in a back alley.
It's about this, here.
It can't stay there.
Who's your landlord?
After trying to explain waste management to the tenants who
spoke virtually no English,
a brand-new set of recycling bins has been delivered.
Now Alex is back to see if they're being put to good use.
In the meantime, since we last came, I've spoke to the owner
of the property, who's then put me in touch with the letting agent
and I've asked the letting agent to try and contact the tenants just to
maybe speak to them and explain to them
about what they need to do with regards to the waste.
So we're back today to see
whether they've cleared up the mess they've left
and whether they're getting to grips with the recycling
and to see what state the bins are in, basically.
The rubbish that was previously dumped here has gone,
but it's been replaced by another load.
Making matters worse, the new recycling bins
are not being used properly.
So the blue bin's contaminated because it's got plastic bags in it,
which are a no-no, which is just general household waste.
As you can see, the stickers tell people what they can
and can't put in. There's not really any excuse -
there's plenty of information about what you can
and can't put in and what you should and shouldn't be doing,
but it's just a bit of an ongoing issue.
There's our recycling leaflet
which has been given all the attention it needs.
I'm sure it goes in the blue bin.
Alex laid down the law on his previous visit,
but it seems this has been lost in translation.
The mattress from a week ago may have gone, but a bed base
and a microwave have taken its place.
Another neighbour claims to know where it's all coming from.
-All that rubbish there...
-..comes off them bins there.
-I've been on to the council because we had two rats in last week.
Running up and down.
There's food there, there's food waste.
-There's food and everything. The cats are always here, as well.
-Leave it with me, I'll get it sorted out. All right.
There's no evidence that this new rubbish has been dumped by
the tenants Alex has been dealing with,
but he'll get it cleared up.
We have a service where you can pay and we'll come and pick that up.
They've just thrown it out thinking it's going to get taken away.
I don't know whether it's because they don't know or
whether they do know and they're just chancing their arm.
You can't throw your waste out and expect the council to come and pick it up.
It's becoming a bit of a problem that we're going to have to deal with.
The residents whose rubbish he can identify have had plenty of warning.
Their landlord has promised to help his tenants manage the waste,
but now the time for a quiet talking to, in whatever language, is over.
It is frustrating because obviously somebody moves into a property and
we're making sure that they've got clean and empty bins
and giving them all the options to recycle, educating them,
telling them what goes in where.
Erm, and it just doesn't happen.
We're just going to take the recycling bins away
and don't give them the option then to contaminate the bins,
just leave them with one black bin.
Then just move it on and put the onus on the owner of the property now to make
sure his tenants are doing what they're supposed to be doing
when it comes to the waste.
The dumped rubbish will now be cleared by the council
and the residents will be left with just one black bin for all of their household waste.
This drastic solution makes
is simply more cost effective for the council.
If an element of recyclable waste is going to landfill,
when you weigh that against the cost of constantly sending
officers down trying to re-educate, it's easier for us
to ask them to take it to the waste recycling centre.
Across the borough, at Tyldsley library, the council has been
running Magical Memories, a monthly session for people living with dementia.
People who are living with dementia feel as
though they're not part of the community.
We're helping address that, in getting everyone together.
Two people benefiting from the sessions are Vince Mather
and his wife Mary, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011.
She loves watching other people
and you can see her smile, laughing at other people.
It's Wednesday morning and council librarians Sandra Ashcroft
and Marlene Chadwick are hard at work.
20, 22, 24, 26...
30. How many have we got?
How many? Is that enough?
They're getting ready to open the doors for today's session.
We have them once a month and people come along.
We do a bit of singing, we play bingo,
just things to stimulate people.
It's a bit of a socialising thing for them, as well.
Then, at the end, we have another sing-song, which they
all really enjoy.
We'll have to be careful these don't blow away, actually.
I might just turn that off.
The idea is to stimulate memories
of things that they remember, like the eras and the films
and the musicians of the times when they, obviously,
can have happy memories, hopefully.
Most of them are quite elderly.
There was nothing for people with dementia in Tyldsley,
so we're trying to make Tyldsley dementia-friendly
and we decided that we wanted to put one of these sessions on.
We thought it was important because there was lots
of coffee mornings and different things in the area,
but there was nothing like Magical Memories.
These are little bottle tops that we recycle.
We collect them so that they can use them.
Some of the people aren't very good with their hands,
they can't hold pens very well. So we do that.
They're just the perfect size to cover the bingo.
As well as the activities, the council serves lunch.
It's something that senior council officers Alison Eaton
and Rita Devlin think is vital to the session.
I will speak to Sharon, who does the food.
-And Marlene was thinking, maybe a steak-and-ale pie.
-That'll be nice.
-So I'm ordering 36.
We found that not only the reminiscence -
they wanted the social aspect, as well, to meet together,
sitting down, sharing a meal together.
It's been absolutely fantastic
and we've been getting 36 to 40 people - and it's not only people
that are living with dementia - it's their carers, as well,
that are coming along and that's such an important thing.
My dad currently lives with my mum.
Rita's mum's passed away.
We recognise how important it is for those carers, as well.
I think they're so grateful.
You can come into an environment where people understand.
People are not judgmental.
For Vince Mather, who is primary carer for wife Mary,
it's welcome respite from what's a full-time job.
She's come first in my life, always will do now.
I've got to do everything that we both used to share -
I have to do now, because she just doesn't comprehend
anything like that.
If I gave her a different cup, she won't drink it.
If I give her the same cup, she will.
Your tea's ready.
-Yes, your tea.
Come on. For tea, it's tea-time. You know...
There are times, honestly, when I can I break my heart.
Come on. That's a good girl.
One of the biggest things I do miss is having a sensible
conversation with somebody because I can't have one with Mary.
But when I go to the council sessions,
I can go there and meet people that I can talk to.
Today's Magical Memories session has attracted nearly 30 people.
-Hiya, Vince, hiya, Mary.
All ready for a game of musical bingo.
Right, so, the way it works, you get a little snippet,
probably about 20 seconds.
-You try and identify and cover it up, if you know it. OK?
-Can you hear me?
-Are you ready for your first song?
MUSIC: Knees Up Mother Brown
Can you turn it up, Sandra?
Are you ready for the next one?
MUSIC: Molly Malone
Just look at this, it's wonderful how it's inspiring memories,
it's getting people talking.
They're laughing, they're enjoying themselves.
It's just wonderful to see. It's very special.
Her reaction to music is very good.
This is why - it strikes a chord in her mind...
..that she does tend to remember.
She gets as much enjoyment out of watching other people singing
and enjoying themselves, as she does herself.
I think, mentally, she's singing up here, you know.
Lunch is served and Rita is in charge of dishing up.
Sharing food with somebody is quite a social thing to do
and it's wonderful to see people chatting away, shared tables.
We go and sit and join them, have a chat,
see how people are doing, and it works for both the person with
dementia, but also for the person who is caring for them, as well.
It's also Vince's chance to take a break.
It's more of a relaxing period for me, you know.
Some little weight has gone off my shoulder
because somebody else is there.
It's a shame, you know.
I see other people who are in the same situation as I am
and I see how they're coping and, obviously, it helps me
to give me confidence that I must be doing something right,
somewhere, you know. Yeah, I feel I get something out of it.
The session is topped off by a good old singsong
and ditties from days gone by.
# When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
# That's amore
# When the world seems to shine... #
It does make a difference.
It does, to me, when you see what can be achieved by putting
things on like our Magical Memories session.
# Bells will ringting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling... #
It just raises the awareness of dementia
and the problems that people with dementia are facing.
# When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
# That's amore... #
It's to break down the stigma that surrounds dementia.
Then you want the community to embrace dementia
to know about the disease
and to be able to help and support people within their community.
# When you walk in a dream
# But you know you're not dreaming seniore... #
Not so often, but at times,
she shows a glimmer of sign
of the old Mary.
I can see it.
I notice it, but it's short-lived - very short-lived - but it's there.
It's a feeling.
# That's amore
# That's amore
# Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
# That's amore
# That's amore. #
Like their council colleagues across the UK,
these officers have been trying to keep the borough's streets safe...
Anybody walking down could end up down the embankment.
I'm going to put a new lock in it for you.
..supporting those in need...
It does make a difference.
It does, to me, when you see what can be achieved.
..as well as clearing neighbourhoods of unwanted rubbish.
Basically, they are going to have to get rid of this.
All of this, when their residents call the council.
We work as a team.
You go out there, and if you all work together,
all pull together, it makes the job easier, you get the job done.
Council officers in Wigan help residents with rubbish in their alleyways, assist police with an emergency in the middle of the night and help those dealing with dementia.