A man’s labour of love inspired by his experience of treating his father’s dementia has been given a boost, following a five-figure lottery grant.
Neil Floyd, from Oswaldtwistle, created a colouring book specifically for dementia sufferers containing outlines of special moments in the sufferer’s lifetime to trigger memories and conversations.
‘East Lancashire, My Colourful Memories’, which has already been piloted in local care homes, has been awarded £10,000 to deliver workshops across the region.
Neil, 49, says the funding offers a great opportunity for the project to really get off the ground, and his ultimate goal is to see it rolled out all over the country using a franchise-type model he is devising.
He said: “We’ve got quite a large grant to be able to deliver the workshops.
“We have got £10,000 to get these programmes off the ground, which is a good sum.
"It’s very difficult to get the funding and we are really pleased. Now we are able to expand into new communities and new areas.”
Neil, who became a full-time carer for his late dad Samuel after he developed Parkinson’s and then dementia, explained: “We are getting personal photos from a specific period of time, which is brilliant for people with dementia and people with communication problems.
"People are more likely to speak about something familiar to them rather than just a generic photograph.
“It can be anything. Pictures of trams at Blackpool, motorbikes, people’s gardens. Things that have made an attachment to that person.
“A lot of people think it is just colouring but when people look into it they realise how unique it is.
“Something just as simple as an image can create that conversation - such as a favourite food or TV programme. We use computer technology which helps speed things up a little bit.”
Dad-of-one Neil, who runs a shop on Union Road, Oswaldtwistle with his wife Pamela, said he visits Mill Lodge in Great Harwood every fortnight - and has become known there as ‘The Colouring Man’.
He said: “It’s taken over my life really. Even though I went to university and did a lot of research, my real understanding of it came from looking after my father. That’s what drives me to do it.
“I know the difference it made to him and I know that it’s making a difference to other people.”