EMPLOYEES at a sheltered housing complex have found a sweet way to benefit the lives of people living with dementia.

An traditional-style sweet shop has been opened by support workers at Rosemary Court, off Blackton Grove, Darlington, after donating their own money to help stock the bijou confectioners and provide a familiar and fun environment for tenants.

The shop was the brainchild of care team leader Rebecca Liddle, who presented the idea along with service manager Lynn Carter at a Dragon’s Den-style initiative run by national adult health and social care charity, Making Space.

The charity, which provides care at Rosemary Court, encouraged employees to come up with suggestions to help people with dementia to live fulfilling and rewarding lives, with a contribution of £100 awarded for the winning ideas.

Ms Carter said: “Our tenants can’t always get out without assistance, so the sweet shop is a lovely place for them to come and have a chat and treat themselves to some sweets, with the added bonus of bringing back happy memories.

“It’s in a communal area just outside the dining room and we open it every day just before lunch, so tenants come down and get together and choose their sweets – it’s very social.”

The shop is fully stocked with jars of well-known sweets including Fruit Salads, Jelly Babies, Black Jacks, aniseed balls and chocolate mice.

It is also kitted out with old-fashioned weighing scales and a traditional till with donations of a sweet cart, signage and sweets sent in by Darlington Chair Cover Hire, Boss Printing, Sweetie Cones and Diddydoddy Cakes.

Members of staff at Rosemary Court painted the shop available for use by tenants at the 42-apartment complex flats for people living with complex needs.

Phylis Anderson, who has has lived at Rosemary Court for seven years, said: “It’s like having your childhood back. They have all my favourite old-fashioned sweets.”

Ms Carter added: “The shop is for the benefit of the tenants and that’s exactly why we all go to work, so we were happy to contribute whatever we could to make it as perfect as possible.”