Megan, one of our Young Leaders, chose to undertake the challenge of leading the Cubs in participating in the A Million Hands Project.
‘A Million Hands is an on-going community impact project that tackles four issues that matter most to the young people across the country: mental health, water sanitation, people living with a disability, and people living with dementia.’ The project aims to get half a million scouts to help to ‘make a positive, measurable impact on our local, national and international communities’ (A Million Hands website)
Here’s a short video from the Scout HQ that provides an overview of the project, and the people that it can help:
Identifying A Need
Several weeks ago, Megan introduced the four areas that the project aimed to help, by running an evening with different activities based on each of them, and at the end of the evening the Cubs voted to focus on helping people with dementia.
‘Although it mainly affects older people, it is not a natural part of aging and 40,000 under 65 have dementia. People with dementia all too often find themselves isolated, losing friends and family and facing barriers in accessing their local communities.’
Learn And Do More
Megan’s friend Hannah very kindly came to visit the Cubs, and spoke of her experience as a Dementia Friend, and how dementia can affect the everyday lives of those who have it. The Cubs then participated in some activities such as trying to find the correct amount of money with a blind fold on (as an example of people suffering with dementia not recognising everyday objects like money, so they’re effectively doing it blind), and a game that involved passing string between people (the string represented links in the brain “breaking”, such as the links for normal everyday activities like getting dressed). The activities gave the Cubs a small insight to the difficulties that people with dementia encounter regularly.
The evening ended with the Cubs making posters about dementia – they wrote about the impacts for both the person suffering with dementia and those around them, the effects of the impacts, and then what we can all do to help people who are suffering with it.
Tell The World!
As part of the Million Hands project, young people are encouraged to get others involved, so we decided to write to our local MP, who was none other than David Cameron (the Prime Minister!). The Cubs drafted letters and all of their ideas were collated into one letter telling him about what we learnt, asking him to become a Dementia Friend, and inviting him to our litter pick (more on that in another post!). It was written and signed by the Cubs and sent to the PM – a copy can be seen below.
Dear Mr Cameron
We are Windmill Pack of 1st North Leigh Scouts. This term we have been working on the Million Hands Project which is a nationwide project which aims to get scouts involved in the issues of their communities. The project involves choosing and learning about an issue that we think is important in our community.
We chose Dementia as our issue.
Dementia is a very serious disease where the person loses memories over time and only emotions are left. They find it much harder to go about their daily lives and some rarely leave the house. In 2015 there were 850,000 people in the UK with Dementia and 827 people were in our constituency.
Part of our project involves getting more people involved, and this is why we are writing to you. We would really appreciate it if you would become a dementia friend. It is very simple all you have to do is watch a short clip at, www.dementiafriends.org.uk.
A dementia friend is someone who learns a little bit more about what it is like to have dementia and then turns that understanding into action.
We hope very much that you will help us support the people with Dementia and their carers in our community.
To help those in our community we are having a litter pick in North Leigh so that when those with Dementia do get out of the house the environment is better for them. We know you are very busy at the moment but you are very welcome to join us on the 22nd of May.
Thank you for reading our letter.
1st North Leigh Cubs, Windmill Pack
We can’t wait to receive a reply!
Stay tuned for the final part of our Million Hands Project!