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Get Together Club at The Goats Gate

2275. Valerie Watt

Valerie Watt, from Bury, set up the ‘Get Together Club’, at the Goats Gate Pub that she co-owns, to help support dementia sufferers and their carers.

Valerie’s mother, Mary, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, and Valerie found herself feeling isolated and without a support network. Wanting to help other families affected by dementia, she founded the group, together with Ray Hatton and Sonia Schofield, which meets every Tuesday and where members can connect, share experiences and enjoy company in a safe space. 

Through the ‘Get Together Club’, which now has over 50 regular members, Valerie, Ray and Sonia also offer crafts and activities as well as music and singalong sessions and themed events, for those living with dementia, and their family members. 

At the Goats Gate Pub, Valerie also hosts a range of fundraising activities, including a weekly quiz and charity darts events, to help raise money for local charities. 

In a personal letter to Valerie, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“I was moved to hear how you created the Get Together Club following your mother’s diagnosis with dementia, aged just 57. I can’t imagine how difficult and isolating that time must have been for you – but you responded with incredible kindness and compassion, reaching out to others and building a support network for families facing similar situations.

“I know this has not been a lone effort and you have had help and support from your partner Raymond and your friend Sonia, both of whom have been instrumental in helping you create and run the club from your pub.

“Together, you are making an incredible difference for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and their families across Bury, brightening their lives in the darkest moments.”

Congratulating Valerie on her award, Christian Wakeford, Valerie’s local MP for Bury South, said: 

“I’m delighted to support Valerie and Ray, the ‘Get Together Club’ and The Goats Gate in their brilliant work supporting our community. ‘The Get Together Club’ brings people together to support each other, Valerie and Ray are incredibly deserving of this award. I know from speaking to many of my constituents that the club is an excellent example of how families of dementia sufferers can find light in seemingly dark times, this group is a real lifeline. Special mention too to The Goats Gate, a proper community pub, with a great family atmosphere, good food and one of my local favourites!”

Valerie said:

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the Prime Minister. Alzheimer`s is a devastating illness – not only for the sufferers but, as I know, sadly, from personal experience, for the carers who can experience such a sense of distress and isolation. ‘Joseph Holt’ pubs are very much at the heart of the communities we serve and are so much more than somewhere to enjoy a drink or something to eat . They are also places where people can come together and support each other . For those affected by Alzheimer’s, our ‘Get Together club’ is a place where people can feel comforted, uplifted, and supported during what can be such a distressing time.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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