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East Devon Reminiscence Bus set for lift-off

As reported by Social Enterprise

Social Enterprise Mark holder Age UK Devon, together with Honiton Memory Café and Dr Ruth Darvill have brought the People’s Millions to East Devon after the public voted them winners of a £43,579 Big Lottery Fund grant in a special competition to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Jubilee People’s Millions is a competition run by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with ITV and with the approval of Buckingham Palace. Age UK Devon and partners have been campaigning throughout Devon for the last three weeks to gain support from local people. The public vote by phone to decide which local projects should receive Lottery good-cause funding.

A short film about the ‘Heading along Memory Lane’ project was aired on the ITV West Country News on Monday night, up against another Devon-based project, ‘Dancing Devon’. The film featured a vintage Coronation lunch party at Broadhembury Village Hall and the vintage bus, which is the focal point of the ‘Heading along Memory Lane project. Members of the Memory Café spoke fondly about their memories of yesteryear sparked by their journey on the specially equipped Memory Lane bus. The emotionally-charged short film captured the hearts and minds of the voting public, scooping the cash prize for the ‘Heading along Memory Lane’ project.

In a nail-biting finale to the funding campaign, the winner of the public vote was announced – with the ITV film cameras rolling – at the Boston Tea Party in Honiton. Nina Parnell of Age UK Devon says, “We are absolutely delighted to have won the People’s Millions. We would like to thank everyone in Devon who backed our bid and made that ‘call to make a difference’. We couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support from the community – from local businesses and Devon-based employers to community groups, our volunteers and individuals who recognised the importance of this project. We are now looking forward to working with people affected by dementia and their carers to design Reminiscence Day Trips around East Devon on the 1958 ‘Memory Lane’ bus. These trips will enable people with dementia to re-live their experiences of yesteryear, providing therapeutic benefits and encouraging the sharing of happy memories from the past”

Mark Cotton Big Lottery Fund’s Head of the South West region, said: “The Jubilee People’s Millions is a great way of showing what local groups can achieve when they have the support of their community behind them, and we’d like to congratulate Age UK Devon on their success in yesterday’s contest. We are extremely pleased to be running the competition with the approval of Buckingham Palace and there are more fantastic projects yet to be showcased over the next couple of days. I urge everyone to continue to tune in to ITV Westcountry, pick up the phone and vote for their favourite project.”

Adam Crozier, ITV Chief Executive said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the Jubilee People’s Millions, which is a terrific partnership between ITV and the Big Lottery Fund, and gives our viewers the opportunity to influence how thousands of pounds of Lottery funding is spent in their community.”

A Message from AGE UK DEVON

Support Age UK Devon to change the lives of people affected by dementia

Vote for our People’s Millions Project on Monday 27th June.

Can you imagine what it’s like to have been married to someone for fifty years and they no longer remember your name – and the only way they recognise you is by looking at your old wedding photographs?

Age UK Devon needs your vote to support and enrich the lives of people for whom this is an all too familiar experience.

Our project – Heading along Memory Lane – is one of six in the West Country which has won through to the ITV Jubilee People’s Millions.  However, we are competing against the other projects to win the funding – and it’s all down to the number of telephone votes we receive on Monday 27th June.  Voting lines are open for this one day only and the voting number won’t be announced until the morning of the vote.  Calls cost just 11p from a BT landline (although more from other networks and mobile phones) – and you can vote up to 10 times from one number.

We are urging you to visit on Monday 27th June to find out the number you need to call.  Alternatively, you can watch ITV The West Country Tonight on Monday 27th June, betwen 6 – 6:30pm, which will feature a two-minute film about our project.

Heading along Memory Lane will offer people with dementia and their carers a programme of reminiscence trips around East Devon on a customised 1958 vintage bus – using sights, sounds and tastes of yesteryear to bring back happy memories and a shared experience to remember.  Carers will take the lead in designing the trips, working with volunteers from the Honiton Memory Cafe and Age UK Devon.

This is a much-needed project.  Please spare 5 minutes of your time to leave a message of support for us on our People’s Millions webpage and put a note in your diary to vote for us on Monday 27th June.

If you’d like to find out more about this project – or if you can help us to spread the word – please contact either Nina Parnell or Rachel Johnstone at Age UK Devon by calling 0845 296 7810 or emailing

Thank you.