A major benefactor with links to both Knaresborough and Ripon has bought and donated a building specifically for the benefit of people living with dementia across the district.
Valerie Armitage from Aldborough, a member of Knaresborough Golf Club, started negotiations to buy an old Methodist Chapel in Burton Leornard three years ago.
But after a year of converting the chapel into a specifically designed building, Mrs Armitage donated the site to local charity, Dementia Forward to use as a community hub supporting people living with dementia.
The hub has been named ‘George Armitage House’, after Valerie’s late husband and was officially opened by Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire with the the Mayor of Harrogate and the Mayor and Mayoress of Ripon.
Mrs Armitage said: “I just think it was something that was needed in the community. There was lots of things that I could have given to but I used to live in Burton Leonard.
“My husband didn’t have dementia but he always insisted that it was important to support things in the place where you lived.
“I’m excited and enthusiastic, I think it’s wonderful. I’m just waiting for it to be open five days a week and it won’t be long.
Although Dementia Forward has wellbeing cafes and services in a number of rented venues already, George Armitage House becomes the hub for all work by the charity.
There will be weekly Admiral Nurse clinics, young onset day service, and day care provided in partnership with nursing home, Over the Rainbow.
The hub will also feature activities such as art, music, cooking, gardening, hairdressing, chiropody, a weekly community cafe and minibus services for patients.
The Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd, officially opened the building with the Mayors of both Harrogate and Ripon.
CEO of Dementia Forward, Jill Quinn said: “This wonderful facility will be a place to turn to for people living with dementia and it is not clinical. It is a comfortable, welcoming place and, hopefully, the first of many such hubs.”