Fulham resident Lorraine Mason has spent a lifetime helping residents by improving dementia care locally.
Growing up in Walham Green (now Fulham Broadway), she’s spent 44 years working at Hammersmith & Fulham Council looking after members of the local community. She was honoured this month by Sharon Lea, chief executive of H&F Council.
Now 64, the former Harwood Road primary school pupil says: “My big passion has been working with local residents living with Dementia. I have had so many wonderful memories of my time.”
A lifelong commitment to dementia care
Lorraine embarked on her dementia care journey in 1979, when she started at H&F’s Farm Lane care home.
She worked with older people on reminiscence and life story projects, becoming an extended part of their family. “It was a job I enjoyed immensely, so much so I stayed there for 23 years,” says Lorraine.
She then moved on to help improve access to service and support for H&F residents with dementia.
Working alongside the Fulham-based charity Action on Disability, she co-produced upgrades to direct payments, helped facilitate peer support groups for locals, and was keen to support residents with learning and mental health needs.
"I was born and live in H&F and share the same values – that our residents are at the heart of what we do, and that we're working with residents to protect what they value,” says Lorraine.
A relentless Dementia Ambassador
Lorraine went on help create our first Dementia Strategy, to ensure consistent care is delivered so residents can remain in their own home with additional support.
“I'm proud that H&F has its first strategy for dementia, which was co-produced with people with dementia, their families and carers, to help identify the improvements needed for the services and support they receive.”
During the pandemic, Lorraine worked around the clock to support local residents.
She says: “We rallied around to support local residents, particularly those shielding or unable to go out. Some were starving hungry, and we ensured they had enough food provisions to save their lives, plus that they were staying safe.
“I provided support with getting their gas/electric keys topped up, plus they had a reassuring voice as we were always calling them, letting them know we have their back, and always will.”
Growing up in H&F
Lorraine loves Fulham’s lively parks, markets, and people. “Growing up as a child in H&F was great, she said.
“I spent most of my childhood and school holidays and any spare time visiting my local Eel Brook Common, as it had a great park, full of wonderful and exciting equipment to play on, and a little paddling pool.
“I also got to see a lot of my friends, and we would compete over who could go the highest, or fastest on the swings or roundabout. I also enjoyed going shopping with my mum or nan up North End Road Market, and we would visit Manze’s for pie and mash.”
As a teenager, she was a keen footballer too. “I was called up to play my debut match with Fulham Girls,” she recalls. “It was a proud moment for me, as I managed to score a hat trick, and was signed up to join the team. My position on the pitch was outside right, known today as right winger.”
Lorraine is hugely respected and valued by all staff across the council and the local community members she serves.
Sharon Lea, H&F’s Chief Executive, said: “Her astonishing 44 years of service stands as a testament to her extraordinary contribution and the lives she has touched over the years. Her loyalty and dedication in supporting residents are an inspiration to us all.”
H&F remains the only borough in the country to offer free home care. This allows residents to live as independent a life as possible and ensures those who need help with everyday tasks, from personal hygiene to making a bed, can access the support they need. It’s only possible thanks to our ruthless financial efficiency to help make H&F a great place to live, no matter your age.
Can you help?
We’re helping to build a dementia-friendly community. If you would like to help us co-produce improvements to dementia services, therapies and support, please email: wecoproduceASC@lbhf.gov.uk
Or, you can also support residents living with dementia in H&F by becoming a Dementia Friend today – it only takes a minute.
Please use the Hammersmith & Fulham code ‘LBH21413’ and postcode ‘W6 8DA’ when registering.
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