Special day out is right on track

The party waiting on the platform at Bentham.
The party waiting on the platform at Bentham.

A special party took the train from Bentham for the seaside at Morecambe, where they enjoyed tea, scones and cakes at the iconic art-deco Midland Hotel.

The party was made up of a group of people living with dementia, who meet each Monday for a Making Art session at the Looking Studios in Bentham.

They were accompanied by their carers and supporters from the art group, which is run by Pioneer Projects, who provide a range of activities to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals by using creative arts.

The day out was organised by the Bentham Line (Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership) as part of its Dementia and Community Rail Project with the support of local train operator, Northern.

It proved to be a reminder of yesteryear for many; being able to sit, relax, and rekindle pleasant memories.

One of the day trippers said: “It was really nice to go out on a trip.”

Another added: “I really enjoyed it. I wish these trips happened more often. It was so good being together with everyone. The staff did look after us well”.

Philippa Troutman, training and creative arts manager at Pioneer Projects, said the railway staff and volunteers could not have been more helpful.

Gerald Townson, Chairman of the Bentham Line, described the day out as a great example of Community Rail at its best; working with various agencies, including the train operator, to enhance the lives of those living with dementia and others who need extra time and support.

“It is vital that the railway develops an inclusive and caring approach to all those with hidden illnesses such as dementia,” he said.

Richard Isaac, regional community and sustainability manager at Northern. who accompanied the visit, said: “Northern are pleased to be supporting this important initiative by the Community Rail Partnership as the railway looks for ways to become more inclusive for those living with disabilities.

“It is pleasing to see that this project is attracting interest from rail partnerships and train operating 
companies across the United Kingdom.”

A number of other trips are planned. If any group is interested in being involved the partnership can be contacted on the.bentham.line@gmail.com or 015242 98940.