• Simon O'Donovan

Happy New Year - 2020

Some ideas for your first CST group of 2020.

INTRODUCTION Wish everyone a Happy New Year. Ask how their holidays went? Did anyone have any visitors staying, or did they visit or stay with family or friends?

Where did they have Christmas dinner? What did they eat?

What was the most enjoyable thing about the day? What were their best Christmas presents? Did anyone have any nice surprises? Or are there any presents to 'recycle'?

Does anyone not celebrate Christmas? What is their festive occasion? How did members see in the New Year? Did anyone drink champagne and count down the seconds to Big Ben chiming in 2020? Did anyone watch Jools Holland 'Annual Hootenany' or see the Fireworks on the Thames? What about New Year's resolutions? Have any been made or already broken?

As we start a new decade, what is the single biggest change that would make the world a better place to live in?

SEEING IN 2020 As we welcome in the new decade, discuss some of the most notable occasions that happened during the 2010s. Here's a list to get you going (avoiding distressing natural disasters and terrorist atrocities) ...

- April 2010. The first Apple iPad was launched on 3 April, by the late CEO Steve Jobs. Has anyone got one?

- April 2010. The Icelandic volcano, 'Eyjafjallajökull', erupted for the first time since 1823. It resulted in an ash cloud reaching 30,000 feet into the air and creating a dark cloud which hung over most of Europe. It caused the widest disruption to air travel since WWII.

- April 2011. Prince William married Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey on 29 April. They now have three children - George, Charlotte and Louis. Lovely couple!

- 2012. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year and the Thames flotilla which occurred on 3 June. Do members agree that the fanfare was good for the U.K.?

- July 2012. Who could forget the Summer Olympic Games held (mostly) in London. There were gold medals aplenty - 29 in fact, including for Bradley Wiggins (cycling), Andy Murray (tennis), Chris Hoy (cycling), Jessica Ennis (heptathlon), Greg Rutherford (long jump), Mo Farah (10,000m), Ben Ainslee (sailing) and Nicola Adams (boxing). And, of course, Her Majesty parachuting into the Olympic Stadium, assisted by 007 James Bond (Daniel Craig).

- 2013. Andy Murray ended Great Britain's 77-year wait for a Wimbledon Men's Singles Champion. He beat Novak Djokovic on 7 July. Did anyone see the match?

- 2014. Same sex marriage became legal on 29 March, with Sandi Toksvig being the first celebrity to renew her civil partnership vows that day. Does anyone know a married same sex couple?

- July 2014. The 'Ice Bucket' challenge 'went viral' on social media, with many celebrities taking part to raise awareness and funds for Motor Neurone Disease. Who fancies taking part?

- February 2015. Remember the 'Is it yellow or is it blue dress?' that caused a storm? The picture is included below. What colours do members see?

- 2015. Wales and Northern Ireland introduced the 5p charge on all plastic carrier bags. Do members agree this was a small price to pay to reduce plastic waste?

- 2016. David Bowie died on 10 January. His five UK number 1 hits were: 'Space Oddity', 1975; 'Ashes To Ashes', 1980; 'Under Pressure', 1981 (with Queen); 'Let's Dance', 1983 & 'Dancing In The Street', 1985 (with Mick Jagger). Any fans in the room?

- 2016. The Brexit Referendum took place on 23 June. £350m a week for the NHS was promised, but is yet to be seen! The result, of course, was 52% for a 48% against. Oh and David Cameron instantly resigned! And Theresa May took over!!

- May 2017. People started playing with 'Fidget Spinners'. Has anyone got one?

- 2017. The new polymer £10 was introduced on 14 September. Jane Austen featured on the note. Who likes the new plastic money?

- 2018. Two storms hit the UK in February and March. 'Storm Emma' and 'The Beast From The East' caused widespread chaos and disruption. Anyone get snowed in?

- May 2018. Prince Harry married Megan Markle at Windsor Castle on 19 May. Their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, arrived on 6 May 2019. They didn't hang around did they?

- 2019. 16 year old Greta Thunberg, from Stockholm, Sweden, fronted several 'International Climate Emergency School Strikes', putting the issue firmly front and centre of world leaders' minds. Do members agree she has done more this year to highlight the global crisis than anyone politician?

- 2019. Boris Johnson was voted in as Conservative Leader and therefore UK Prime Minister on 29 July 2019. What do members think of him?

* Some pictures are included below to help promote recall for members *

Next, discuss things which will be happening over the next twelve months ...

- Plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will be banned this year.

- June-July. The 'UEFA Euro 2020' (football) will be held in twenty countries across Europe.

- 17 July. NASA's 2020 'Mission To Mars' will launch, with the aim of studying habitability for future human missions. Who likes a 'Mars Bar'? ;-)

- 24 July-9 August. The '2020 Summer Olympics' will be held in Tokyo, Japan. Does anyone fancy visiting Japan to see the games?

- 3 November. US Presidential Elections will be held. Does anyone think Donald Trump will win a second term?


The 'New Year’s Honours List' recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom. What do people think of the 'New Year's Honours List'? What are the main awards? MBE - Member of the British Empire OBE - Order of the British Empire CBE - Commander of the British Empire Damehood Knighthood

(There are many more, including special awards for gallantry and bravery.) Here are some famous people honoured this year. Discuss with the group which are most deserved.

Sir Elton John

Occupation: Singer and composer

Honour: Companion of Honour for services to music and charity

Quote: “I’m humbled and honoured to be among such highly esteemed company in receiving the Companion of Honour. 2019 has turned out to be a truly wonderful year for me and I feel extraordinarily blessed.”

Olivia Newton John

Occupation: Actress and singer, star of 'Grease'

Honour: Damehood for services to charity, cancer research and entertainment

Quote: "I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me."

Other information: Her three UK number one hits were: 'You're The One That I want', 1978, 'Summer Nights', 1978 & 'Xanadu', 1980 (With E.L.O.)

Baroness Floella Benjamin

Occupation: Actress, broadcaster and peer

Honour: Damehood for services to charity

Quote: "I am buzzing with excitement like a little girl. I just feel so happy and thrilled, and honoured and privileged to be able to accept this honour. For the last 40 years, I believed that you have to give back and you have to try and think about other people as much as you can because when I came to Britain, aged 10, I had a pretty tough time, people told me to go back, they didn't want me here. And I realised that I was worthy because my parents kept telling me that."

Other information: Presenter on children's TV show 'Playschool'

Sam Mendes

Occupation: Theatre and film director - Olivier and Bafta award winner, Academy Award for 'American Beauty'

Honour: Knighthood for services to drama

Quote: "I'm amazed, delighted and extremely proud. I have stood on the shoulders of so many collaborators and colleagues over the last 30 years - actors, writers, designers, producers, technicians - to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. I would not be receiving this honour without them."

Steve McQueen

Occupation: Artist and film director - Turner Prize winner. Won Academy Award for 12 Years a Slave

Honour: Knighthood for services to art and film

Quote: No quote, yet

Wendy Craig

Occupation: Actress

Honour: CBE for Services to drama and charity

Quote: No quote yet

Other info: Previously built a career in TV, with roles in 'The Royal', 'Butterflies' and 'Not in Front of the Children', for which she was awarded a BAFTA in 1969.

Annie Nightingale

Occupation: DJ

Honour: CBE for Services to radio

Quote: "Most grateful thanks to absolutely everyone I've worked with, who has supported me; without you this #CBE #NewYearsHonours would not, could not have happened. Love you lots xxx" (Twitter)

Ben Stokes

Occupation: England cricketer, World Cup and BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner

Honour: OBE for services to cricket

Quote: Nothing as of yet, as his father has been taken seriously ill in Australia.

Roger Taylor

Occupation: Drummer in Queen

Honour: OBE for services to music

Quote: (From Brian May) “I received a CBE some years ago. It doesn’t change your life very much apart from giving you some letters to put after your name in correspondence! The award which really moves you to a different place in Society is when they make you a LORD - which entitles you (or requires you) to sit in the House of Lords, participating in the passing of British laws and policies. So there ya go! Who decides these things? Well, it’s all done quietly behind closed doors by a small committee - but most awards have been lobbied for, by friends and colleagues who feel the person deserves recognition!!!”

Ainsley Harriott

Occupation: TV chef

Honour: MBE for services to broadcasting and the culinary arts

Quote: "When I was first told about it, I immediately thought about my dear late mum - which really choked me up, because I know how proud she would have been. Her boy's proud too - it's a great honour for me and for everyone who has helped me on my way."

Jill Scott

Occupation: England footballer

Honour: MBE for services to women's football

Quote: "There's been tough times - I remember going away on an England camp when I was 14, and I never got selected then for four years. Standing here now, I think I've got 146 caps for England, so I'm glad I made that decision not to quit."

Nadiya Hussain

Occupation: TV cook

Honour: MBE for services to broadcasting and the culinary arts

Quote: “Even my car is crying tears of joy! Thank you for all the kind words and absolutely wonderful messages! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would ever happen to me. I know my grandparents would be really proud, they wouldn’t understand what was going on, or what it means, but they would be proud none the less. Little old rice farmers living in the middle of nowhere, with a grand daughter with an MBE! Who would have thought it?"

Harry Billinge

And six months after attending the D-Day landing 75th anniversary commemorations in Normandy, veteran Harry Billinge, from Cornwall, is made an MBE for services to charity after raising more than £10,000 towards a national memorial for his fallen comrades.

Discuss the Honours System with members. Are these awards deserved? Is the recognition given to public service a British tradition to be proud of? Is this a Royal Family contribution to the betterment of society? Or is it all hot air or cold blancmange? Notable people who have refused honours include: Ken Loach, film director, turned down an OBE in 1977, saying: “It’s all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest.” Danny Boyle, film director and master behind the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony revealed he turned down an honour because: “It’s just not me”. Jim Broadbent, actor, turned down an OBE in 2000, saying: “I’m not that comfortable with actors receiving honours, partly because I think they ought to go to those who really help others. Besides, I like the idea of actors not being part of the Establishment.” Renowned journalist Jon Snow declined an offer of an OBE, reportedly because he believed that working journalists should not take honours from those about whom they report. He said: “I tried to find out why I’d been given it and was unable to get a clear answer or, indeed, to find out who had proposed me.” Howard Gayle, Liverpool FC’s first black player, turned down an MBE last year saying that his “ancestors would be turning in their graves after how Empire and Colonialism had enslaved them”. He was nominated for the honour for his campaign work with Show Racism the Red Card. Musician Paul Weller rejected a CBE in 2006. In a statement a spokeswoman for Weller said: “Paul was surprised and flattered, but it wasn’t really for him.” Comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders turned down OBEs “for services to comedy drama” in 2001. Saunders later revealed why they turned down the honour offered to them. “At the time, we felt that we were being paid very well to have a lot of fun. It didn’t seem right somehow. We didn’t deserve a pat on the back. It felt a bit fake to stand alongside people who devoted their lives to truly worthy causes.” In 2000 the former Beatle George Harrison turned down an OBE after his band mate Paul McCartney was awarded a knighthood three years earlier. “Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive”, said friend and journalist Ray Connolly. David Bowie, internationally renowned musician, turned down an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2000, saying: “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.” Scientist Stephen Hawking revealed in 2008 that he had been approached with the offer of a knighthood in the late 1990s, but declined. It was reported that this was because of the UK government’s handling of science funding. John Cleese, comedian and actor, was offered a CBE in 1996 but refused because he thought they were “silly”. Alan Bennett, playwright and author, turned down the offer of a CBE in 1988 and then rejected a knighthood in 1996. He said: “I felt that, in my case, it just wouldn’t suit me, that’s all. It would be like wearing a suit every day of your life.” (Information source Huffington Post)

NEW YEAR, NEW BEGINNINGS IDIOMS As a memory prompt, we asked members to complete the following phrases about ‘New Things’. To turn over a new - LEAF To start - ANEW/AFRESH Nothing ventured, nothing - GAINED To break new - GROUND Out with the old and in with the - NEW When one door closes, another - OPENS Winds of - CHANGE You can’t teach an old dog new - TRICKS As bright as a new - PIN As busy as a - BEAVER As good as - NEW A lick of - PAINT A brave new - WORLD A whole different - BALLGAME A new broom sweeps - CLEAN New kid on the - BLOCK New lease of - LIFE That’s a new on on - ME As good as - NEW Breathe new life into - SOMETHING Dawn of a new - DAY Make - OVER Feel like a new - MAN Like a kid with a new - TOY Brand spanking - NEW New - PASTURES New wine in old - BOTTLES Nothing new under the - SUN Plumb new - DEPTHS Put a different complexion on - SOMETHING See in a new - LIGHT Take a new - TURN/TWIST Take on new - SIGNIFICANCE That’s a new one on - ME The Emperor’s new - CLOTHES Ring in the New - YEAR

NEW YEAR'S QUIZ Here's a short quiz to carry on the discussion. 1. What do the Scots call New Year's Eve? HOGMANAY 2. ‎Who wrote the words to Auld Lang Syne? RABBIE BURNS 3. ‎What does Auld Lang Syne mean? TIMES GONE BY 4. ‎Which is the first country to celebrate New Year? SAMOA (10AM UK TIME) 5. ‎Which US state is the last to celebrate New Year? HAWAII 6. ‎What is traditionally served on New Year's Eve in Scotland? HAGGIS WITH NEEPS AND TATTIES (SWEDE AND POTATOES) AND WHISKY (SINGLE MALT) (PLAYED IN BY BAGPIPES) 7. ‎What is 'Calennig' in Wales? A NEW YEAR'S GIFT GIVEN DOOR TO DOOR WITH GOOD WISHES (AN APPLE SKEWERED WITH CLOVES, DRIED FRUIT AND SPRIGS OF EVERGREEN) 8. ‎What year was the Queen's 'Annus Horribilis'? 1992, THE YEAR WHEN CHARLES AND DIANA SEPARATED AND WINDSOR CASTLE WAS BADLY DAMAGED IN A FIRE 9. ‎What 1972 disaster movie is set around a New Year's Eve party at sea? THE POISEIDON ADVENTURE 10. ‎Who sang that they were going to ... 'Party like it's 1999'? PRINCE 11. ‎What was the feared computer failure of New Year's Eve 2000 called? THE MILLENNIUM BUG 12. ‎What landmark constructions were built to celebrate the Millennium? THE MILLENNIUM DOME (O2 ARENA), THE LONDON EYE, THE MILLENNIUM (PRINCIPALITY) STADIUM, WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE, MILLENNIUM BRIDGE (Can anyone think of any others?) 13. ‎Who sang the song 'Millennium'? ROBBIE WILLIAMS 14. ‎What is traditionally given by a dark haired person in the custom of 'First Footing'? SOME COAL, BREAD, MONEY AND GREENERY (TO MAKE SURE THE HOUSE IS ALWAYS WARM, THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH FOOD TO EAT, THERE IS ENOUGH MONEY TO GET BY AND EVERYONE LIVING IN THE HOUSE HAS A LONG LIFE) 15. ‎Where in the UK do people say "Black rabbits, Black rabbits, black rabbits" in the closing seconds of the old year and "White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits" in the opening seconds of the new year? YORKSHIRE 16. ‎Complete the following phrase, which is said by school children on the first of each month... "Pinch punch, first of the month and .........". NO RETURNS 17. ‎Where do Americans celebrate the New Year by watching 'The Ball Drop'? TIMES SQUARE IN NEW YORK 18. ‎Which Stevie Wonder song begins with the lyrics, "No New Year's Day to celebrate..."? I JUST CALLED TO SAY LOVE YOU 19. Which ABBA album did the song 'Happy New Year' appear on? SUPER TROUPER 20. 2020 will be the year of which animal in the Chinese calendar? THE RAT (CHINESE NEW YEAR IS SATURDAY 25 JANUARY) "Though people consider the rat not adorable, and it even makes its way into derogatory languages, it ranks first on the Chinese zodiac signs. It has characteristics of an animal with spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility and vitality." 21. How do we say 'Happy New Year' in Welsh? BLWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA

PRACTICAL ACTIVITY Ask members if they have ever received recognition for a lifetime achievement. Another way of asking this question is what are they most proud of. Perhaps they excelled at school or university, perhaps there was a significant contribution they made in their occupation, or perhaps they raised a wonderful family. Perhaps they have a skill that is remarkable, for example being able to play a musical instrument, being an artist or author or being fluent in another language. As for a practical activity, have members draw or paint a gold medal and ribbon to award themselves for their best lifetime achievement. (And a silver and bronze medal if there is time!) Maybe illustrate the background with an image of what it is they have excelled at.

MUSIC QUIZ Happy New Year - ABBA Ask members to think of significant 'new things'. Go around the room, asking for ideas.

NEW BABY, NEW HOME, NEW CAR, NEW CLOTHES, NEW TASTE, NEW SHOES, NEW PERFUME, SOMEWHERE NEW TO VISIT, A NEW FRIEND January - Pilot Who is the Roman God of beginnings and endings that January is named after? JANUS Have You Met Miss Jones - Robbie Williams Who wrote Bridget Jones Diary, which centred around the main character starting a new diary each New Year's Day? HELEN FIELDING (Renne Zellweger starred in the film series.) The Perfect Year - Dina Carroll ‎This song was written for and featured in which Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical? SUNSET BOULEVARD (Norma Desmond was the main character.) Stevie Wonder - I Just Called To Say I Love You This song won an Oscar for 'Best Original Song' for which 1984 romantic comedy, starring Gene Wilder? THE WOMAN IN RED (Gene Wilder also starred as Dr Frankenstein in Mel Brookes' 1974 comedy horror film 'Young Frankenstein'.) 1999 - Prince What was Prince's real name? PRINCE ROGERS NELSON (Can anyone remember what his alternate 'Love Symbol' looked like?) (He had a hit single with what colour rain? - PURPLE) It May Be Winter Outside - Love Unlimited When did the UK experience it's worst winter weather, in living memory? THE 'BIG FREEZE' OF 1962/63 WAS THE COLDEST ON RECORD FOR MORE THAN 200 YEARS. THEN THERE WAS THE 'WINTER OF DISCONTENT' IN 1978/79 AND 1981/82 WAS ALSO PRETTY BAD WITH PARTS OF WALES EXPERIENCING 23 FT DRIFTS. (2018's snow storm was called what? - THE BEAST FROM THE EAST) New Year's Day - U2 Who is the lead singer of U2, who recently said that music in the UK had 'become too girly!' BONO (A.K.A. PAUL DAVID HEWSON) December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) - Franki Valli & The Four Seasons What was Franki Valli's first hit in 1962 (named after a fortified wine)? SHERRY Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) - ABBA What was ABBA's first European hit (there's a clue in the word European)? WATERLOO ('Waterloo' won the 'Eurovision Song Contest' in? - 1974) Dancing In The Moonlight - Toploader How long does it take the light from the moon to reach the earth? Light travels through space at just over 186,000 miles per second. The moon is just under 250,000 miles from Earth, so light from the Moon's surface has to travel more than one second (ABOUT 1.3 SECONDS) to reach us. (Sir Patrick Moore presented 'The Sky At Night' for more than how many years? - 50 YEARS) Celebration - Kool And The Gang How do people celebrate New Year? WITH CHAMPAGNE, A KISS AT MIDNIGHT, A PARTY, DANCING, FIREWORKS, RESOLUTIONS AND SINGING AULD LANG SYNE It's My Party - Leslie Gore Who would members invite to a party if they had the opportunity? Gold - Spandau Ballet Gold is categorised in terms of purity and value by what? CARATS (Is anyone wearing any gold today?) All Night Long (All Night) - Lionel Richie What was Lionel Richie's group called? THE COMMODORES (Their number one 1978 hit was? - THREE TIMES A LADY) Millennium - Robbie Williams This song is based on music from which James Bond film (the title song being sung by Nancy Sinatra)? YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Frank Sinatra Who likes the snow? Discuss what reminds us of snow days as children? - NO SCHOOL, TOBOGANNING, MAKING A SNOWMAN, SNOWBALL FIGHT, COLD FEET AND HANDS, MITTENS, BOBBLE HATS AND SCARVES, BALACLAVA, WARMING BY THE COAL FIRE Rock Around The Clock - Billy Haley & The Comets How often does Halley's Comet orbit the earth? EVERY 75-76 YEARS. IT WILL NEXT APPEAR IN 2062! Auld Lang Syne - The Party Poppers Get the group up dancing and linking arms. HAPPY NEW YEAR X

FOOTNOTE It is important to note these discussion topics and quiz questions are only suggestions and prompts to support your CST session. Time for discussion and elaboration is more important than completion and going off at tangents is absolutely to be encouraged. It would be good to have feedback about what has worked well and not so well in the activities included in the CST Blog, maybe along with photographs of things produced in your sessions. (Please don't include pictures of members unless they have expressly given informed consent and their relative or friend has also agreed to it.) Ideas for future activities would also be gratefully received. Wishing all my followers and supporters a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2020. Thank you for your support!

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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