The “magic spells” they cast are all about friendship, having a laugh, sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, enjoying a natter.
And they meet in Oswestry.
So it won’t surprise you to know that they call themselves The Wizards of Os.
They also describe themselves as “an informal social group for people living with dementia”.
For many people living with dementia it can be a rare and wonderful thing to meet people “in the same boat” – people who really understand, people who “get it”.
Which is where groups like this come in.
The Wizards of Os is one of hundreds of such groups across the country and part of a network called DEEP – the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project.
Many of these groups meet informally in a local coffee shop, others will meet in a pub or a community centre or someone’s house.
Some discover they have quite a lot in common and will organise days out – a trip to the cinema, an afternoon at a museum … or they might go fishing together. It doesn’t matter what they do. The important thing is meeting up for a chat – and perhaps a few laughs.
George Rook, a campaigner for these groups across Shropshire, says: “It’s just a great opportunity for people to get together and talk about stuff that’s important to us.
“The most important thing is to enjoy it. Maybe grab a cup of coffee and a cake and relax for an hour. If you happen to make new friends then so much the better!”
The Wizards of Os meet at ‘Carriages’ on the Gobowen Road, every second Wednesday of the month. (Please just pop along – or, for further details, email George at [email protected] or telephone 07976 189641).
Other new DEEP groups are currently being established in Whitchurch, Wem, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer and Shrewsbury.
For an overview of the local groups and when and where they meet, visit the DEEP groups in Shropshire Facebook page at @shropshiredeep.
DEEP is a national movement and has helped create groups all across the country – and each DEEP group is unique, run by and shaped by its own members.
The groups are run by people with dementia for people with dementia.
In some cases, groups prefer not to have their carers with them at meetings – and this of course then gives carers, friends and families a chance to go off and do their own thing for a while.
But exactly how a group is run is decided by the members themselves.
Usually, there are no costs involved as groups will meet within their communities at places like cafes and pubs.
Often groups want to do nothing more than have a nice conversation – which is absolutely fine. Other groups like to organise activities.
Here are a couple of examples of DEEP groups in other parts of the country:
KINDRED SPIRITS (in Northfleet in Kent) – “We meet up once a month. We benefit from the regular opportunity to share tips and advice with each other as well as developing a social network. The group decided to try a different activity each month. We hoped that we may then feel more confident to do those activities by ourselves. We also wanted to share activities we have previously enjoyed with our peers as well as have the opportunity to try new things.
“We kicked off our activities with curling, an activity none of us had ever tried before but we soon got into the swing – or sweep – of it!
“We have also enjoyed bowls, golf and dancing, a walk at a local woodland park followed by a pub lunch, and a few cheeky bevvies!”
EAST SUSSEX DEEP GROUP – “We’ve had an exciting month linking in with local dementia action alliances and speaking with community partnership schemes.
“The cross-pollination between groups saw members joining together and making new friends.
“One member said – ‘Today’s session has been pivotal for me. People really understand me. It’s all about connections.’ And it’s this kind of feedback that makes it all worthwhile.”
If you would like to find out more about DEEP generally, please email Phil Gillam, Development Facilitator for DEEP Groups in Shropshire, at [email protected] or telephone 07527 054143.