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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  • Simon O'Donovan

This Week’s News Round Up

It’s November again. The month of Bonfire Night - November 5th, Remembrance Sunday - November 10th, Thanksgiving - November 28th & Black Friday - November 29th.

November is also the month where awareness is raised for men’s health, especially prostate and testicular cancer. The ‘Movember’ campaign has become increasingly popular, with men growing beards and moustaches to gain sponsorship and raise funds for associated charities. Here is a picture of Stephen Fry, who this week tweeted his intentions to grow some facial hair.

“I have decided, in keeping with tradition, to compose a moustache for #Movember - I hope it doesn’t occasion the world too much distress. The cause is worth it, I feel. I shall post photographic updates each weekend, so be elsewhere if you have a nervous or sensitive disposition.”

A December Election has been voted for by The House Of Commons this week. “Turkeys voting for Christmas”, as they say. It will be held on Thursday December 12th. Does anyone remember Brenda from Bristol last time round. “You’re joking! Not another one.”

South Africa won the Rugby World Cup this weekend, beating England 32:12. Siya Kolisi, South Africa Captain, raised the cup celebrating their win. But also the fact that he was the first black Captain of the national team.

In celebration of the Rainbow Nation winning the trophy, here's Cilla Black singing the Rainbow Song.


Vinnie Jones revived a dying man with CPR this week, seven years after making an NHS advert on how to do it.(walesonline.co.uk)

Olivia Newton-John's ‘Grease’ outfit fetched $405,700 at auction this week. Apparently her trousers were so skin tight that she had to be sewn into them! Let’s take a look at a video clip. (You Tube link to ‘You’re The One That I Want’)


@TonyScrumpy tweeted a picture of Porthcawl in the storm this weekend (November 2nd). If you look closely, you can make out a wolf’s head. Very appropriate as it just about coincided with Halloween.

Universal Curiosity posted this tweet of a piece of lenticular art. If one moves from left to right, the image ages. Take a look. (Click on link)


A couple of ‘hero’ stories made headlines this week.

Firstly, a story about @Sally_Keeble who is standing as Labour candidate in Northampton. @Natalie_Bloomer wrote as follows:

“Earlier this year a woman came to me for advice. She had left an abusive relationship but because she had no recourse to public funds, her and her children (including a breastfeeding baby) had become homeless.

Outraged, I was sure I could help her sort it out. I was wrong.

I attended a meeting with social services with her where I was left stunned by the unkindness shown to her.

I attended multi-agency meetings with her where everyone expressed sympathy but ultimately shrugged and said there was nothing they could do.

I sat with her as she was told the nearest woman’s refuge that could take a family of her size with no recourse to public funds was in the Shetland Islands.

Her and the children continued to live out of carrier bags in hotels around the town. All the time her savings dwindling.

Then one day she called me, desperate. She had finally run out of money for a hotel. The children were staying with their father and she had slept rough.

I can’t tell you how out of my depth I felt at that point. I felt I had failed her. We had tried everything we could think of.

I didn’t really know @Sally_Keeble very well at this point but I knew she gave advice to people at the local food bank each month so I contacted her and she agreed to meet us that day for a coffee and a chat.

My friend turned up with her possessions in carrier bags.

Sally calmly listened to this awful case and kept telling us not to worry. She gave advice about the immigration situation and the family courts.

Then she turned to my friend and said “I have space at home, you are very welcome to come back to my house”

We all cried.

Sally and her lovely husband not only welcomed her into their home but also her children who were later reunited with her.

They have been living with her for the past 7 months.

I have never known such generosity and that is why I will campaign for her to be our next MP here.

Oh and if you like a happy ending: The woman has now sorted her immigration status, is attending college, and is about to move into temporary accommodation with her children. Finally.”

Laura Kuenssberg posted this story from The Grenfell Inquiry. (Photo from Evening Standard)

“Interesting detail in today’s Grenfell inquiry report about one man: an engineer called Jason Allday who worked for gas supplier Cadent. He is singled out for praise.

He is an emergency engineer but was not on standby that night. He turned up off his own back after seeing a TV news report. He was familiar with the area and ended up staying for 24 hours.

He got to Grenfell at 07:20 and was told the London Fire Brigade wanted the gas turned off. At 14:00 that afternoon, LFB asked him if he was prepared to go into the basement to shut off valves himself.

At 15:50 he went in with LFB officers carrying riot shields to protect him from falling debris. The plan worked, the flow of gas to the building ceased and the flames died down almost immediately.

The report says there can be “no doubt” Allday and his team did an excellent job in dangerous conditions. “Their success was to a large extent due to Jason Allday’s inspirational leadership, clarity of planning and careful execution.”

Time for another song. What about ‘Hero’ - Mariah Carey


Here’s another inspirational story from 'I Loves The 'Diff' on Twitter. (Picture from The Times)

Earlier this year @AllisonOwenJon1 had a simple idea for #happytochat bench signs to help combat loneliness. From Roath Park in Cardiff her idea has spread rapidly around the world. If you like this, please share. #tacklingloneliness

And finally, a funny story about our Monarch from the Daily Mirror.

The Queen is known for her quick sense of humour and those closest to her know she's always up for a fun joke or a cheeky prank.

But when her right-hand-woman Angela Kelly played a cruel trick on her, the Monarch fell for it completely - jokingly telling her she was sacked when she realised she had been had.

Sharing the funny story in her new book ‘The Other Side of the Coin’, Angela Kelly explains that the Queen was desperate to see a kookaburra bird during their Royal Tour to Australia in 2006.

She didn't have any luck spotting one, so when Angela saw a cute toy version during a trip to a market in Sydney while her boss was at an engagement, she decided to buy it for her.

But rather than just giving it to her, she decided to have a bit of fun first.

She writes: "I had something in mind I thought the Queen would enjoy."

When she got back to Governor's House, where they were all staying, she placed the toy in a little cage on the balcony outside her room.

When the Queen got back Angela told her she had spotted a "funny looking grey bird" through the window.

"The Queen looked outside and shouted 'It's a kookaburra!' I went to open the cage doors and she said loudly 'No! Don't do that! It will fly away!' and was behind me in a flash.

"Turning to her Majesty while trying to keep a straight face, I solemnly told her it was dead."

The Queen looked "horrified", until Angela walked towards her with outstretched arms and said "April Fool".

"She had only two words for me: "You're sacked. I was laughing uncontrollably as her Majesty turned to His Royal Highness and said "Do you know what she has just done to me? Angela has had me!".

The Queen took the little toy back to Windsor Castle with her and it now lives on the back of the sofa in her private living room.

To finish, because the Kookaburra is mostly a bluebird and Remembrance Sunday is this weekend, perhaps have members singalong with Vera Lynn - White Cliffs Of Dove.