MORE than 600 people affected by dementia and their families will be helped to overcome social isolation, thanks to a grant of £90,000 from Wiltshire Freemasons.

This week members of the Freemasons have been visiting groups run by Alzheimers Support across the county, to see exactly how their money will help meet the costs of more than 40 community groups, including singing, art, exercise, and gardening groups, set up under the charity’s Creating Connections programme. The programme aims to help provide meaningful activities to participants, helping them to retain skills and spark friendships.

The groups deliver therapeutic benefits to those with dementia, and also offer a chance to socialise and relax. They also signpost to additional support, including information on benefits and other financial help.

People with dementia in large rural counties like Wiltshire are often particularly difficult to reach. Wiltshire has a higher-than-average population of people aged over 65 and it is estimated that there will be more than 9,000 people in Wiltshire living with dementia by 2025.

The grant from Wiltshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Alzheimer’s Support Wiltshire CEO Babs Harris said: “We are thrilled and very grateful to Wiltshire Freemasons for their generous grant that will secure the future of our much-needed and much-loved community groups. We can now plan and move forward in meeting the needs of local people living with dementia.”

Philip Bullock, Head of Wiltshire Freemasons, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Alzheimer’s Support, which does outstanding work in helping local people and their families remain actively involved in their communities and live fulfilling, productive and meaningful lives.”