December Meeting

Another great turn out for our Christmas themed meeting. it was good to have Simon back and to have the company of James and Kevin alongside our staunch band of loyal members.

We played a musical version of pass the parcel and a couple of rounds of ‘Give Us a Clue’…with an interesting collection of book, film & TV titles…all of which were eventually deduced apart from ‘Star Wars Rogue One’…that had everybody stumped…apart from the group who had put the title in the hat.

A short selection of Christmas carols were merrily sung ‘a capella’ (unaccompanied)…before we tucked in to a veritable feast of goodies. Thanks everyone for a really festive end to the year.

Other Activities

Apart from the rain…the Newcastle Midwinter Wakes Lantern Procession was a great success. Judging by favourable comments on Facebook, it was a magical event. Lots of people, creative ideas, music and fun. People loved the bird theme and the Picasso lanterns, especially the bull. But also all the small lanterns made by children and volunteers, It felt like a real community event. Well done all the organisers and volunteers.

Hanley’s Winter Wonderland which runs until the 2nd of January has attracted a wide range of people including the Lord Mayor and the cast of Cinderella from the Regent Theatre.  Visitors will find… a real Ice Rink, a Bavarian Bar & Food, Live Music, a 60 metre Sky Swing Ride, Crazy Mouse Roller Coaster, Giant Snow Globe…not to mention the scary ‘white knuckle’ No Limits Ride, and many other rides and attractions. On New Year’s Eve there will be a spectacular fireworks display and Entertainment.

November Meeting – Dementia Awareness 2

For our well attended November meeting we had the pleasure of welcoming Will Boyce, Dementia Patient Champion from the charity Approach Staffordshire. He was pleased to find that our group is now registered with Dementia Friends.

Will gave an inspirational talk drawn from his own experience and from working with other Dementia Friends. As well as engaging us in discussing of various forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Vascular and Frontotemporal Lobe dementia, he showed us images of a healthy brain compared with one seriously affected by dementia. He ended on a positive note that showed ways of helping people with dementia and their carers to live well with the condition.

HIV Testing Week

Zoe and Andrew from GayLife Stoke, and familiar faces to many of our members, gave a short presentation about HIV Testing Week. GayLife runs weekly support groups for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community at the Piccadilly Centre. GayLife also provides sexual health information, including information on safer sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

To show our support, a few of us agreed to have a group photo holding placards prepared by Zoe and Andrew

Our next meeting is on Monday 19 December 6.30 pm Hanley Community Fire Station – Christmas theme – relaxed evening with party games and carols – please bring something edible to share. 

World AIDS Day Candlelit Vigil

The Candlelit Vigil in Hanley for World AIDS Day is organised by Staffordshire Buddies with a set of readings based on the latest facts and figures. This year was especially significant for the Charity because Staffordshire County Council ended their contract on 1 December 2016. This has resulted in staff redundancies and cuts in all HIV support services to Staffordshire Buddies clients living in the county outside of Stoke on Trent. At present support services in Stoke on Trent remain unaffected.

There was a good turnout with a procession from the Piccadilly Project led by a giant red ribbon lantern and accompanied with real live music. A first!

After the vigil readings and balloon release, some of the participants posed for a group photo in front of the Fountain Square Christmas Tree.

October Meeting – Dementia Awareness

There was a good turn out for our last meeting on Monday 24 October …at which we looked at the important health issue of dementia with Jane Barnes and Julia Jones from our local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Stoke City Council. Jane and Julia wanted to discuss what support the LGBT community requires around dementia. They sought to build on their current two pronged approach which aims to tailor individual pathways for both patient and carer.

It is always heartening to witness the willingness of group members to engage with difficult issues in an honest and open way. Individuals recounted their personal experiences of memory problems and how they had been dealt with by health care professionals. Members recalled the brilliant presentation on how the brain functions with regard to memory by Professor Nicky Edlestyn from Keele.

For those who wish to contact Jane and Julia directly please email:


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Three days of events and activities celebrating creativity in later life – here are a few shots from the Festival