Keystone operates in Crosby and Thornton helping carers and cared for with Dementia or any memory problem. Their aim is to support carers and to provide a safe place for them to express their emotions honestly. They meet three times a month in different locations.
Last week was the Week of Prayer for Dementia. Very appropriate for a visit to Keystone at St Luke’s to see how the project has developed. As it was the Week of Prayer, the group met for a short service of prayer before the usual meeting at the Crossroads centre.
Jane Stephens was appointed as Local Missional Leader to the Keystone Project based at Great Crosby St Luke in June last year. Jane spoke to us about her role within the Keystone Project that was initially set up as a support group for carers of a loved one living with dementia and gives us an update on what has changed at Keystone since we last spoke in June last year just after her commissioning.
“Keystone has been brought in as part of St Luke’s since January. I really felt that there should be something that was missional about what we do. It’s about showing Gods love and caring for people, looking after the carers. With regards to making the project more missional, we have actually prayed with people. We are no longer constrained by funding that didn’t allow us to have any spiritual content in the meetings. That was always a strain as my natural inclination was to offer to pray with people who were struggling. We are also having dementia friendly services on a regular basis at The regular dementia friendly services are at All Saints with SaintFrideswyde and occasionally at St Luke’s. It is important that the teams meet and pray before each session. Becoming an LML has opened other doors also in being able to talk to various clergy and has given me more authority to deliver the mission that I always wanted to.
For the future of Keystone, I’m hoping that our L23 partnership will work well and that there might be one more new group starting. I want to get the teams from the different groups together so we are united as one. There is also a new leadership team that will spiritually and practically support me now instead of the old steering group that we used to have and we have just met to look at our Vision and Values and make a 5-year plan.”
Jane witnesses the difference made to the carers that use the service first hand:
“People really benefit from coming to the meetings. One example I can give is one of our carers, Trish, who came in for the first time, really stressed. She was caring for her mother in law. She came here with no church background and didn’t come to church at all but has since started coming to other things. We worked with her at the groups, gave her the key principles to follow and she came back about a month later and said: “it really works, I’m feeling so much more relaxed.” The key principles are how we teach people to treat people with dementia which maintains dignity for the person and allows the carers to have a strategy of coping with the day to day challenges in the least stressful way.”
In our next article, we will look at the Keystone project from the point of view of the carers running the service as two of the group members share their experiences.