Plymouth job seekers get creative to help local residents living with Dementia

A group of job seekers, currently being supported towards work by leading employment support provider, Seetec Pluss, have worked together to make knitted and crocheted ‘twiddle muffs’ for Livewell Southwest’s Dementia patients.

They are being supported on the Department for Work and Pensions’ Work and Health programme, which helps individuals to prepare or move closer to work by building their confidence and skills.

As part of their journey back into work, these Plymouth residents have been gathering in a small group within the Seetec Pluss Plymouth office once a week to make these items, which are a form of comfort and stimulation for local residents living with Dementia.

Nicole Quinn, Lead Dementia Advisor at Livewell Southwest, expressed how their creations will help their patients: “The connection with Seetec Pluss followed on from when we first worked on these ‘twiddle muffs’ with the Alzheimer’s Society, and it has carried on since our work moved here at the Dementia Advisor Service at Livewell. Once our patients get hold of them, it gives them a sense of calm and purpose, because they can reminisce on how they may have been very active with their hands earlier in life. It also gives that sensory feeling, which quite often people miss.

“Now that our education groups are starting back up following the pandemic, we’ll be able to introduce these to people again, which will be wonderful. It really makes a huge difference to people.”

This project has also proven to be extremely beneficial and rewarding for those within the working group. Seetec Pluss Employment Adviser, Kerry Bond, said: “The crochet group was originally set up as a way to build confidence and develop a community focused group that would enable some of our participants to be supported and feel valued as a member of the local community, whilst also contributing to a worthwhile cause.

“It was also a way of building a team from a diverse group of individuals and allowing them time and space to connect, develop their confidence and skills, and freely discuss their thoughts and feelings, regardless of their ability or skill level.

“One member of the group has grown into more of a teacher and leader, which at the beginning of our time together seemed a world away. Another has used the group to gain confidence in her language skills, and another who has little or no other support and has found her voice within the group.”

Iveta Nemcova is one of those members of the crocheting group and is currently being supported on the Work and Health Programme. She commented on her experience: “I have been attending the crochet group for the last few months and I really enjoy coming in, meeting new people and making friends.

“In the group, I am able to practice my English speaking. As a non-English speaker it is important for me to practice my conversational skills and build confidence. I love to bake and I often bring in cake and sweet treats for the group! I previously knew how to knit, but I have learnt a new skill in crocheting.

“I feel valued, and I love coming to the group on a Wednesday. I look forward to it very much.”

Seetec Pluss supports over 40,000 people every year with a wide range of barriers, disabilities and health conditions to move towards and into work.

The Work and Health Programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and co-financed by the European Social Fund for participants who started before 1st November 2022.

To find out more about the Work and Health Programme, click here, or speak to your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach.

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