Art installation in West Sussex commemorates victims of Covid-19

Local charity Dementia Support has worked in partnership with West Sussex County Council and the Selsey Community Forum to purchase two hundred steel forget-me-nots from Chi-Africa.

The aim is to provide a space for communities to come together to share their grief in a meaningful way after lockdowns prevented them from doing so at the time as many did not have a chance to say goodbye.

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Martha Pusey, Director of Sage House said: “The idea for the reflection project came about in light of two carers we have supported during the pandemic who have lost loved ones living with dementia. The project is very much dedicated to her memories.

Image provided by Dementia Support

“One carer lost his wife early in the pandemic and at the time funerals were no more than six people – he said when the time was right we would celebrate her life. The second carer’s mother died in a nursing home and she was not allowed in the house to be with her mother.

“It is always a privilege to attend the funerals of people in our care who have passed away. We hope this enduring memorial will provide some relief from the grief and provide a place for loved ones to come and reflect, knowing their loved ones will be remembered.”

Chi-Africa is a local company that creates garden sculptures from recycled materials in collaboration with artisans in Zimbabwe.

In addition to the forget-me-nots, there will be an opportunity to share their personal reflections in a glass. These will be converted into five commemorative books after the event and kept in local libraries.

Image provided by Dementia Support

The launch event took place on Friday (29 April) at Dementia Support’s centre, Sage House, in Tangmere.

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan will attend the Sage House to officially unveil the Reflection sculpture.

The installation will then tour the county between May 9th and 13th.

It will visit Crawley, Horsham, Burgess Hill, Worthing and end the week on May 13th at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The forget-me-nots are then distributed to communities for permanent installation.

Over 21,000 people died in West Sussex during the pandemic, and doors were closed to Sage House, meaning many carers were left 24/7 to look after their loved ones without personal support.

A total of 42 of their clients with dementia or their carers have died. The experiences for the Selsey Community Forum mirrored what dementia support was experiencing, but out of sadness grew the reflection project.

For more information about the event please call Sage House, the hub of Dementia Support, on 01243 958460 or email [email protected]

If you would like more information about the services offered by Sage House please phone 01243 888691 or visit www.dementiasupport.org.uk

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