The annual Norwich Relief Society Sisters’ Day was held at the Eaton chapel in Norwich and attended by around 70 sisters, who were all determined to provide service and help those in need. There were several activities and workshops, but the one that was particularly successful involved the making of 100 activity mats for people who suffer with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other similar illnesses.
The Relief Society sisters, of all ages and possessing differing levels of skills, met at the chapel armed with sewing machines to machine and needles and thread to hand sew. Other parts of the process involved assembling and quality checking the activity mats. The mats will be distributed for the benefit of individuals and care homes in the local community.
The activity mats are designed to help soothe the agitated fidgeting of people with these common illnesses. In addition, they help focus people’s attention, stimulate senses, exercise hand muscles, and entertain users. Activity mats are the size of a place mat and include pockets, zippers, buttons, strings of beads, bells, etc. They can also include a textured pocket with a soft toy or vinyl pocket for photos.
Christine Barber, who helped to organise the activity, stated: “Prior to the event, everyone was asked to collect articles from a short list of haberdashery items to make the activity mats. An array of charming beanies, knitted items and key fobs featured on the eye-catching mats. Everyone involved became part of the production line set up to assemble and complete the mats. We even had a quality-control area to ensure that the mats were safe for the intended users. There was a great feeling of camaraderie and a sense of achievement as we worked together for what is a truly worthwhile cause.”
This project followed a recent area youth activity where the young people created a sensory garden for a local dementia village.