Mum’s battle with Alzheimer’s sparks daughter’s day centre dream

Tess Pennock, left, and Gillian Hope of Combined Touch.
Tess Pennock, left, and Gillian Hope of Combined Touch.

A DAUGHTER who was touched by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s has set her heart on opening a day centre for people with dementia.

Tess Pennock’s life was turned upside down when she was left with no option to leave her job as a legal executive to become her full-time carer.

I thought it would have been great if there was a place my mum could have gone where she would be cared for and have her mind kept active

Tess Pennock

It was during time spent looking after her mum, Fern Utton, she decided more needed to be done to support people with dementia.

After moving from Nottingham to South Shields following her mum’s death three years ago, Mrs Pennock set about pursuing her dream of creating a dementia centre with the help of friend Gillian Hope.

The pair are now in the final stages of launching Combined Touch – a community interest company – and have now started their search for premises. Through their centre they aim to provide care and support to older people with early to mid onset dementia through a range of activities to help keep their minds active.

Mrs Pennock, of Fraser Close, South Shields, said: “When I was caring for my mum and trying to juggle a job at the same time, I thought it would have been great if there was a place my mum could have gone where she would be cared for and have her mind kept active.

“What we aim to create with Combined Touches is a place for people with early or mid onset dementia where they can take part in activities which will stimulate their minds.

“We are also looking for people who would be willing to come along to our centre and interact with people with dementia to help keep their minds active for longer.”

Combined Touches aim to offer sessions seven days a week offering activities from 8am until 6pm and are looking for premises which will enable them to do that.

Example activities include offering tailored exercise classes, community cafe, hair and beauty, inter generational activities, social networking, talks and lectures, holistic therapies, craft shops and book readings.

For more information or if you can help contact Tess Pennock or Gillian Hope on 07793938073.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa