Melissa is a qualified primary trained teacher who has a long held interest in brain function. Initially this was from the perspective of the child’s developing brain, but in the last decade since the loss of her mother to vascular dementia she has focused on studying the decline in cognitive ability experienced by people with dementia. Of particular interest to her is the manner in which various forms of dementia impact in quite different ways upon brain function, along with the consequent limitations people experience in their daily lives.
A late career break in order to do a degree in ceramics has led to an interest in using the arts in dementia activities.
In recent years Melissa has had experience in the home care sector; has worked for the NHS in the Oxfordshire Supported Hospital Discharge Team (now known as HART) and also for the Alzheimer’s Society as an Advisor in North Oxfordshire. In this role it became clear that services which are able to offer stimulating activities for people with dementia but which also do not require the presence of a carer are very limited if non existent. For this reason she has chosen to join Dementia Active as it is able to offer just such a service and in particular is developing the use of Cognitive Stimulation Techniques (CST) for those with mild to moderate dementia.
From the London Stock Exchange to a degree in Education followed by eighteen years spent as a professional actor and then setting up and running a digital communications agency with a four million pounds annual turnover, Pat’s career has never followed a straight line. But he’s always held the firm belief that whatever we do in life is of value as long as we find a way to channel the experiences we have. Since retiring, he has, like many of us, seen first-hand the debilitating effects of dementia on parents and close relatives, which led to his involvement with Dementia Active, where he finds he can use his experience in a way that is worthwhile and rewarding and, probably more importantly for the groups, a lot of fun.
After spending several years in the service industry, Joe developed an interest in the economics of working relationships. He believes that care work is the most important, yet undervalued, form of work in our society, which is reflected in his time spent volunteering with people affected by conditions like MS and dementia. In 2017, he abseiled down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower to raise money for the Solent MS Therapy Centre. His focus on the social division of labour is also reflected in Joe's academic pursuits, and he is currently writing about the new working relationships of the digital platform economy.
Kate Wilkinson Soprano and multi-instrumentalist. Community Music practitioner. Creative Dementia Arts Network - Development and music lead Arts Award Advisor.