About National Memory Day
Memory loss is often the first and most distressing part of dementia, a condition with currently affects 850,000 people living in the UK. By 2025 this number is expected to exceed 1 million. Reciting and creating poetry can help to unlock memories and encourage new conversations for people living with memory loss and their friends and families.
Memory Cafes provide a safe and supportive environment where people living with memory loss and their carers can socialise informally and receive support and information.
The National Memory Day project funds Poets-in-Residence to work with groups attending Memory Cafés in community halls, high streets, public libraries and elsewhere across the country.
Poets first receive special training to enable them to lead poetry workshops in centres which welcome such activity. Such training also contributes to developing the excellence of poets’ individual creative work.
Poets work with Memory Café participants to recite poetry and see what memories this activity might trigger. Poets may then also continue to work individually with those participants who respond particularly well to explore uncovered memories and find new stories. Additional workshops will also provide support and help to get families and friends writing and creating their own records to capture and share their precious memories.
During Dementia Action Week, an initiative developed by the Alzheimer’s Society, our partnership promotes National Memory Day. The first such day was commemorated on 18 May 2017.
The next National Memory Day is Thursday 14th May 2020.
The purpose of National Memory Day is to generate awareness of the positive impact of poetry on those living with memory loss, to motivate more people and groups to become involved in the project, to celebrate the consequences of the National Memory project over the previous 12 months and to generate further donations to enable the good work to continue.
Find out what happened on National Memory Day 2017 here.
The National Memory Day Poetry Competition is a creative writing challenge around the theme of Memory. The competition aims to promote engagement and discussion around memory loss and dementia for people of all ages. To find out more click here.