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NML launch fundraising campaign to help combat loneliness among older people

National Museums Liverpool is launching a fundraising campaign to help combat loneliness among older people and support people living with dementia. 

NML is taking part in the Big Give’s annual Christmas Challenge to raise £39,000 for a new tablet loan service as part of its flagship House of Memories programme. 

For one week only (1 – 8 December), NML will have the chance for all public donations to be doubled during the UK’s biggest match-funding campaign. 

A match funding pot has been created with generous support from Medicash, The Geoffrey and Pauline Martin Trust, The Ravensdale Trust and The Rimmer Memorial Charitable Trust. The project has also been selected to receive match funding from Big Give Champion, The Reed Foundation. This funding pot will match all donations made by the public.  

The money will fund a tablet loan service, including an online workshop, to enable older people to access the My House of Memories app. The Connect My Memories project aims to tackle financial and digital exclusion by targeting families and unpaid carers, who may not have access to resources available to professional carers. 

NML launch fundraising campaign to help combat loneliness among older people
Picture by Gareth Jones

Based on the power of objects to elicit deeply held memories, the free app allows people to explore everyday objects from the 1920s to 1980s. Objects like cinema tickets, a Singer sewing machine and a 10-shilling note, brought to life with music and film, can help those living with dementia draw on memories to create personal connections with family, friends and caregivers. Users can save objects to their own memory trees, memory boxes or memory timelines to share with family and friends. 

Since its launch in 2014 at the House of Commons, the app has been downloaded more than 33,000 times and has over 21,000 users who have taken part in nearly 70,000 activity sessions. 

Carol Rogers said: “While it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas can be quite stressful, especially this year as we have to adjust our plans according to the pandemic. But for those living with dementia, Christmas poses additional challenges such as disruption to your routine and a change of décor. It can also exacerbate feelings of loneliness for those who are on their own. 

“That’s why this Christmas we are asking people to spare a thought for those who have a heightened sense of confusion or loneliness.  

“Socially isolated, vulnerable or disadvantaged older people often feel they are a burden and rarely try to access support. By backing our campaign, you could help families and carers support older people and those living with dementia by exploring objects from the past and sharing memories together.”  

My House of Memories user Tommy Dunne, who lives with dementia, is a founder member of the Liverpool Service User Reference Forum (SURF), a group of people who represent the views of people living with dementia, their carers and families across Liverpool. 

He said: “This isn’t just a loan service, this is a gift of life. It’s not often that you get to give the gift of life. To give people their life back to prevent social isolation, and we all know that social isolation is one of the biggest killers.” 

The public can donate from midday on 1 December via the Big Give Challenge website: 
https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a051r00001eOVpPAAW 

To be the first to hear more about the campaign, and to be notified when donations open, sign up to the House of Memories e-newsletter: https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/big-give-christmas-challenge-2020 

For more information on House of Memories visit www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/house-of-memories 

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