Essex Freemasons help donate 20,000 Art Therapy Books for Dementia Action Week 2024


The annual campaign for those suffering with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has been given a solid boost this year by the United Grand Lodge of England, the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Co.  The aim of the Freemasons is to raise awareness and provide practical support for sufferers and carers as part of Dementia Action Week from 13th to 19th May 2024.

A grand total of 20,000 Art Therapy Books are being donated to over 150 hospital wards, dementia charities and support groups across the UK, including the 17 care homes of the RMBI Care Co and those of the Peabody Trust, Runwood Homes, Westgate Healthcare and B&M Care, which all offer specialist residential care for those living with dementia

Resulting from various diseases and injuries that affect the brain, dementia is the seventh leading cause of death, affecting more than 55 million people globally. Each year nearly 10 million new cases are diagnosed worldwide, this equates to one every three seconds. It is estimated that up to three quarters of those with dementia have not received any diagnosis. In the UK, one in 14 people aged over 65 have dementia. Although there is no cure, specialised therapy techniques can be helpful in managing symptoms and improving the quality of life.

By supplying 20,000 Art Therapy Books, the Freemasons will be helping sufferers engage attention and improve symptoms of anxiety and apathy. Art therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that involves creative pursuits. Some noticeable benefits have been stimulating memory, boosting mood and communication skills.


Behind this amazing initiative is David Barton, an Essex Freemason, who set up ‘Get Started Art’ in 2023. Danielle Neligan at NHS Hospitals Charity said “Thanks to the kind donation of art therapy books from ‘Get Started Art’, we have been able to support teams across our hospitals to make a real difference to the experience of patients, such as those living with dementia.” David Martin of Westgate Healthcare added “We are deeply grateful for this thoughtful donation of art books. These books will not only serve as sources of inspiration and enjoyment but also as tools for therapeutic expression and social interaction for our elderly community members.”


Over the last 6 months with support by Freemasons and lodges in over 20 masonic provinces, ‘Get Started Art’ has already donated 80,000 colouring books to numerous charities including Mencap, Scope, Mind, Alzheimer’s UK, Age UK and 15 NHS Trusts including Great Ormond Street Hospital, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Barts. David said “It has been quite humbling to be honest but with the nationwide support of Freemasons, ‘Get Started Art’ is committed to providing assistance to those in need and, through our donations, alleviating some of the anxiety associated with these conditions”.


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