Cardiff libraries are good for your health!

A special event to welcome a new scheme available in all Cardiff libraries and hubs to help people's health and wellbeing was held at Fairwater Day Centre today.


Following the launch earlier this week of the Reading Well for Dementia scheme, Cardiff library service hosted a special tea-party for some of the day centre regulars to raise awareness of the a new initiative, which is funded by Welsh Government and delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with the  Society of Chief Librarians (Cymru).


Reading Well builds on the Books on Prescription model which was originally developed in Wales by Professor Neil Frude and has been developed to support people with dementia and their carers as well as to raise public awareness of the causes and symptoms of the condition.

The scheme was launched at the European Association for Health Information and Libraries conference in Cardiff on July 11 and will be available in libraries and hubs across the city and throughout Wales from this summer.


The scheme's booklist includes information and advice for people living with dementia and their carers as well as fiction, memoir and photographic books used in reminiscence therapy. 


Cardiff library service has played a role in the development of the new scheme and the city's lead librarian, Nicola Pitman, is vice chair of the Society of Chief Librarians (Cymru), the organisation that takes a leading role in the development of Wales' public libraries.


Today's party at Fairwater Day Centre was an opportunity to promote the new scheme and showcase how Cardiff's libraries and hubs already have resident's health and wellbeing high on the agenda. The service brought along their 1960s Living Room reminiscence pod or ‘rem pod' - a pop up set from a bygone era, including props, that can help provoke conversations and spark memories among people living with dementia. Day centre users also had a chance to look at the books on the Reading Well scheme and enjoy some Reading Well cakes.


Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "I am extremely

proud of Cardiff library service's involvement in the development of the Reading Well for

Dementia scheme which will provide helpful, quality-assured reading about dementia and

normal ageing, support following diagnosis and practical help for carers.


"Libraries have an important role to play in building dementia friendly communities and our service has been involved with this concept since its very beginning.  As well as delivering books on prescription, our libraries offer reminiscence collections,  information about local dementia services,  organise social activities like reading groups and of course, our regular Dementia Cafes in Central Library Hub and Canton Library.


"Health professionals offering dementia care will now be able to recommend helpful reading to people living with dementia and their carers and the books will be available on the open shelves, clearly signposted, for anyone to borrow from our libraries and hubs."


Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Susan Elsmore said: "Endorsed by the public as well as by health professionals as a helpful community-based health service, Reading Well for Dementia will be an invaluable source of support and information for people living with dementia, as well as their relatives and carers.


"We are committed to supporting citizens and families who live with dementia and to making Cardiff a recognised Dementia Friendly City. The Reading Well for Dementia scheme complements our aims very well as we seek to create a place where people affected by dementia can continue to prosper and enjoy life, safe in the knowledge that the wider community is understanding and supportive of their needs."