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YMCA Teesdale
Dear God...
“Hate leads to fights, Fights lead to war, War leads to beautiful world no more”
Kieran Hunt

Gateway Church Poole
Truth Be Told

UPDATE Jan 2021: Please see the attached info sheet (PDF) to help you plan your response to working with care homes during this pandemic.  Info sheet: Truth be Told - working with care homes during COVID

I’d like to tell you a story. A story about Betty.

One bright Monday morning, in a resident’s lounge full of scruffy old chairs and a familiar smell, there she was. Against a window with million dollar views over Poole Harbour, her eyes were closed, and she was clutching a toy dog for comfort. Betty is 90, non-verbal, unresponsive and suffers from dementia. She didn’t even flinch when a group of parents and toddlers entered the room for their weekly Truth Be Told session.

The theme of the week was ‘food’ and so after some ‘jelly on a plate’ we sang ‘patta cake’. We decided to mark it with B and put it in the oven for Betty and me. And as everyone in the room sang ‘for Betty and me, for Betty and me’, dear Betty opened her eyes and gave us a smile. The following week, Betty’s brother told us that she was a devoted children’s nurse for her whole life. She’d never married or had children of her own but she loved them and she loved the church. And in that moment, we showed her, that she was loved by them too.

There are 410,000 people living in care homes in the UK who are twice as likely to feel severely lonely than older people living in their communities. And now that dementia has overtaken heart disease to become Britain’s biggest killer, this problem is only going to get worse.
Truth Be Told (TBT) is a project that equips local churches to bring joy and life into residential care homes, tackling dementia and loneliness head on. Each week, we have about an hour and a half together in a residents lounge with a special bag covered in pockets and full of props with a different theme – water or animals and a different truth – I am loved or I am special. We sing nursery rhymes, do all the actions and tell a hand-crafted story. We dance, blow bubbles, have a parachute, share stickers and lunch together, chatting and laughing.




A host care home has described TBT as very special, as gold dust, and here are four good reasons why:
TBT is good for residents – our top priority
The sessions impact their health and wellbeing and have lasting effects. We’re told that residents are more themselves during TBT than for the rest of their week. We’ve seen some remarkable moments, even in a high level dementia home. Residents have a role, dignity is restored.
TBT is good for families
Groups are very popular because families are mobilised to do something different and make a difference too.
TBT is good for communities
The project is like a drawbridge. It provides the structure for the local church to take their community by the hand and dance and sing across that drawbridge, into those homes to find those people again. And the drawbridge doesn’t retreat after the sessions, community continues to flow.
TBT is good news for churches
It is a local church-led project that’s simple, contemporary, transformative and in demand. Storytellers can also earn money as care homes and families both pay for sessions.
We believe the church is God’s beautiful display of family, of intergenerational love and devotion. Our vision is that churches all over the UK would establish a TBT drawbridge to transform their community, for precious people like Betty everywhere.

If you are a church looking to replicate the project, a care home wanting to host a group or a family wanting to come along, please contact:
Gemma Gillard, Founder