Andy talking about his experience with dementia.

Learning Photography & Other Opportunities

Andy was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. It was a huge shock and changed his life – but recently he has taken up the hobby of photography with great success

“I used to play a lot of golf and I was quite active. I loved my job and I liked living in York because my brother was there. But after the diagnosis I ended up glued to the TV set, feeling sorry for myself and worried about the future. Not for myself, but for my family.

“I was very upset and very emotional, all the time. I found it very difficult to concentrate on anything. I’d just go in floods of tears. Eventually I got talking to a lady that worked for the Alzheimer’s Society, she took me out on days out and we were able to talk about my interests. I like taking pictures but I only took pictures on holiday – snaps, point and shoot. But she told me about this group. A bloke called Don runs it. It’s an adult education place on London Road and he was into photography and Photoshop.

So that was another place I went to and because I didn’t have a camera I was advised that I may be entitled to a grant off Barnwood Trust.”

“It’s something that from diagnosis to now, I wouldn’t have thought I could have done“

“From then on my life changed. It was such an easy process to apply for the grant from Barnwood Trust. I didn’t feel as though they wanted to know everything about me, they just wanted to, you know, make sure that there were things that they could help me with.

And eventually they just said ‘yeah go ahead, have a look for a camera that you would like and let us know’. So, I just went to Jessop’s and they even added a memory card and a case as well. It was amazing. That got me started and I’d just go out in the garden and take pictures and that gave me more confidence. I was able to get around and do things.

I did a free course which gave me a little more confidence on how to operate the camera and that was a great help to me.”

Andy explaining his new hobby photography.

“First, it was just my garden. We had just moved here and I thought I would make a plan on what was in the garden and I started taking pictures of the plants and everything. I was taking pictures of the cobwebs and things like that and just trying to improve them with Photoshop. It’s really interesting.

I’ve done a project with a care home where they asked if I would like to take pictures of old buildings in Gloucester. They wanted to build a collage on the walls of the care home, so I went and took some pictures, tidied them up, put them on a disk and sent them to the care home manager. I keep sending her things and she keeps accepting them and so the collection is building and building and it’s been really interesting.

They just print them off in various sizes and they put them just along a wall. Some are framed, some are just loose and they look really quite nice. I was quite surprised and pleased.”

“The camera has been very important and it’s helped me in so many ways, you know, meeting people as well and talking about it as well, you know, it’s made me think. It’s good to feel as though I’m contributing, you know, still contributing a bit in my life, rather than sitting around with people doing things for me.”

Opportunities Award

The Opportunities Award opens up exciting new possibilities – such as training, equipment or clothing that may help you towards a job, volunteering or setting up a new business.  It can also be used to help with materials for a hobby or equipment for a sport you enjoy. Visit the grant page here to learn more or email if you have any questions.