UK - England - Dementia Friendly Communities

Black and Minority Ethnic populations support and outreach
Creating a dementia friendly generation
Creating a dementia-friendly York
Creative Spaces
Dementia Adventure
Dementia friendly communities recognition scheme
Dementia Friendly Gurudwaras
Dementia Friendly Swimming
Dementia Friends
Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance
Northumberland Dementia Forums
Purple Angel
Tavistock Dementia Action Alliance

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Picture: Creative Spaces, Sensory Trust

Black and Minority Ethnic populations support and awareness

In Bradford, steps have been taken to support people with dementia among the city’s Asian residents, who make up over 25% of the population. Bradford and District Older People’s Alliance developed the Promoting awareness of and support for dementia for people from Black and Minority Ethnic populations project in response to the lack of representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people with dementia in service provision. The project aims to increase awareness of dementia within BME communities using a number of methods that effectively reach these ‘communities within communities’, such as a series of dementia awareness roadshows.

Creating a dementia-friendly generation

Alzheimer’s Society produced Creating a dementia-friendly generation resources for primary and secondary schools.The resources contain three lesson plans which introduce dementia awareness into the curriculum and encourage schools to consider their role within the community to support people living with dementia. The resource packs have been accredited by the PSHE Association and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA). Over 200 schools have requested the resources since their launch in 2014. In 2016, Welsh and Irish versions of the resources will also be available.

Creating a dementia-friendly York

York was one of the first places to start work on becoming recognised by Alzheimer’s Society as ‘Working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Community’. Preparations for the York initiative began in 2012 with the launch of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Dementia Without Walls report, which presented their findings into how the city of York could become dementia friendly, based on the thoughts of local people with dementia, their carers and families. They developed the Four Cornerstones Model for realising a Dementia Friendly Community, which includes place, people, resources and networks. The findings of the report were taken on by the York Dementia Action Alliance, a network of organisations, individuals and businesses within the city who are committed to transforming the lives of people affected by dementia and their carers. The Alliance consists of 50 organisations from a wide range of sectors, including local care and dementia charity branches, the City of York Council as well as local businesses, transport and local NHS. During 2014, an evaluation was carried out in York. The evaluation found that there was an increase in awareness of dementia, successful intergenerational work, more support for people with dementia from businesses and organisations, and strong involvement of people with dementia at all stages.

Creative Spaces

The Creative Spaces project is run by the Sensory Trust in Cornwall and was launched in 2014. This initiative provides opportunities for people with dementia to take part in outdoor activity, such as fishing and woodland skills. The Sensory Trust use these nature-based activities as creative methods to enable people with dementia greater access to social opportunities and to improve other people’s knowledge of dementia so that they are better able to support those affected by it. The project targets the isolated and disadvantaged communities in the area, focusing on people aged 65 and over living with dementia at home, carers of older people with dementia, community members including service providers, and children and young people aged 7 - 18.

Dementia Adventure

Dementia Adventure was formed in 2013 to support people with dementia to spend more time outdoors on adventurous pursuits. Dementia Adventure offers regular 5-day holidays to locations across the UK for people with dementia, which include outdoor activities, such a sailing, local walks and trekking. They also run training for those who wish to facilitate more outdoor activities for groups of people with dementia.

Dementia friendly communities recognition scheme

A formal recognition scheme for dementia friendly communities was developed to guide and monitor initiatives on an ongoing basis, an endeavour that was tasked to Alzheimer’s Society.

A dementia friendly community is recognised by Alzheimer’s Society as being a community which empowers people with dementia. It’s a community where people with dementia feel confident, respected and included so they can contribute and participate in activities that are meaningful to them. A dementia friendly community is made up of individuals (representing either themselves or an organisation) coming together to achieve a common goal. It can be a place (street, village, town, city, region), an organisation (public, private, voluntary), a group or even a virtual community.

In July 2015, the British Standards Institution published the Code of practice for the recognition of dementia-friendly communities in England in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health. The original aim was to have 20 cities, towns and villages signed up to become dementia friendly by 2015. There are now 137 communities across England and Wales. This recognition process is also running in Northern Ireland, and details can be found in the UK-Northern Ireland section.

Part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge was the creation of the Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group, which provides guidance on the creation and implementation of dementia friendly communities. The group was formed to respond to the need for national action on dementia friendly communities, and to deliver against the objectives set out in the Prime Minister’s Challenge. The group includes members from major public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

To date, the group has prepared practical guidance for different sectors including employers, arts venues, and customer-facing staff as well as charters for dementia friendly technology and financial services:

  • Accessing and Sharing Information: acting on behalf of a person with dementia
  • Creating a dementia-friendly workplace: A practical guide for employers
  • Becoming a dementia-friendly arts venue: A practical guide
  • Dementia-Friendly Technology Charter
  • Dementia-Friendly Financial Services Charter
  • How to help people with dementia: A guide for customer-facing staff

The initial 2012 Challenge made significant progress in improving dementia-friendliness and awareness across the UK. By the end of 2015, Alzheimer’s Society had created one million Dementia Friends, and contributed to the significant increase in the number of people with a dementia diagnosis, as well as improvements to health and social care. Greater improvements are expected to be made over the coming years in line with new targets from the Prime Minister’s Challenge 2020. One of the greatest success stories has been the mobilisation of communities to rise to the challenge and commit to ‘Working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Community’.

Dementia Friendly Gurudwaras

The Dementia Friendly Gurudwaras project was created by Sikh healthcare professionals. The project’s aims are to: raise awareness of dementia within the Sikh community through surveys and questionnaires; tackle stigma by hosting tailored workshops, lectures and courses in both Punjabi and English; modify the Gurudwara to make it more accessible; work with other groups to strengthen the project; and assess the impact of their work to guide future efforts.

Dementia Friendly Swimming

The Amateur Swimming Association’s (ASA) Dementia Friendly Swimming project was launched in January 2015. The project aims to build a network of dementia friendly swimming pools, produce guidance for pools in health care provision, and develop and deliver specific qualifications for pool staff who work with people with dementia. In the first year of the project, the ASA are working with Durham County Council and Manchester City Council with expansion into other areas planned for 2016.

Dementia Friends

England's Dementia Friends programme, which shares many of the elements of Japan’s Ninchisho Supporters campaign, aims to change the way people think about dementia and offers advice on ways in which individuals, groups or businesses can help a person with dementia. Individuals become a Dementia Friend by attending a face-to-face Information Session or watching an online video, launched in 2014, and registering for an information pack. An additional programme for Dementia Champions was made available for those wishing to run Information Sessions themselves. As of December 2015, 1.4 million individuals had become Dementia Friends in England and Wales with a target to reach 4 million by 2020. Initial targets of the Challenge were met and surpassed by the 2015 deadline, and have subsequently been extended into the new Prime Minister’s Challenge 2020.

Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance

The Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance (LDAATSG) focused on developing dementia friendly transport. They recognised that for people living with dementia, their families and carers, having confidence to access and use public transport can make the difference between living well or being socially isolated. The group engaged with major transport providers in Liverpool, to change behaviours, policies, and practices to ensure transport organisations understand and adapt to embrace people living with dementia. They held a consultation exercise with community organisations, people with dementia and their families and carers, and established the barriers to using public transport. Following the consultation they asked transport providers to commit to tackling each of the issues raised. The group piloted training for Virgin Rail, and are developing training for bus providers, and investigating how buses can be used to raise awareness of dementia to the general public. The LDAATSG also hosted an engagement session for transport providers to meet with people living with dementia and their carers. Actions from the session included national recommendations to Government, transport staff to be trained, reviewed information and potentially a national charter for the transport sector. Liverpool City Council committed to looking to fund two ‘places of safety’, and Merseytravel are establishing ‘places of safety’ within each transport hub across Merseyside. Merseytravel also wrote to all transport providers in their supply chain asking them to engage with the LDAATSG and follow up on recommendations and actions.

Northumberland Dementia Forums

Input from the County-established Northumberland Dementia Forums led to the development of a dementia awareness training package for local bus drivers, as part of their Certificate of Professional Competency. As many older adults with dementia utilise public transportation in rural and urban areas throughout the area, having a well-trained and sensitive point of contact in their bus drivers was seen as a key component to an active life with dementia.

Purple Angel

Among the first dementia friendly community efforts to be launched in England was the Purple Angel campaign, which began in January 2012, in the borough of Torbay in Devon. The initiative was the brainchild of Norman McNamara, who is living with dementia and was compelled to take action after a bad encounter with a shopkeeper. Out of this came the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance, a collection of local partners and businesses who are committed to playing their part to make the area more dementia friendly. Any group or business that joins the Alliance and undertakes their training is given a dementia aware badge to display. The Purple Angel symbol itself has been far-reaching with Purple Angel Ambassadors across the world.

Tavistock Dementia Action Alliance

Instigated in 2012 by members of the Rotary Club of Tavistock and a local rugby club, Tavistock Dementia Action Alliance originally aimed to create a dementia friendly high street in the town. With local businesses, emergency services, GPs (general practitioners), consultants and volunteers on board, efforts soon progressed towards reducing the social isolation that can be experienced by people with dementia who are too embarrassed or frightened to leave their home. Ongoing projects include inclusive bridge and golf clubs, a Dementia Friendly Businesses programme, and first steps towards making Dartmoor National Park dementia friendly with regular group walks organised. Through Rotary’s REPoD (Rotarians Easing Problems of Dementia), other communities in the area are being encouraged to develop their own initiative using the learning points from the group in Tavistock.