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New Dementia Hub Opens in Worthing

Dementia Friendly Worthing and Abbeyfield Ferring Society have launched a new hub, funded for three years by the National Lottery Community Fund.

The hub is situated at 46 Goring Road, Goring-by-Sea and is open to support and signpost people living with dementia and their carers to services.

There is flexible space with a separate quiet room and garden, a kitchen and room to have small groups meet.

The opening went off with a flourish and was attended by people of all ages, their carers, health professionals, the Town Crier, charity representatives and people living with dementia in the Worthing area.

The successful funding application was the result of a partnership between Abbeyfield Ferring, a highly regarded care organisation based in Ferring, and the steering group of Dementia Friendly Worthing. Abbeyfield will be increasing their innovative day services and support for people with dementia and their families.

The hub also gives the Dementia Friendly Worthing co-ordinator, Lynsey Tran, a base from which she can really see people from the community in a professional environment and be able to advise and direct them towards other local services.

The lottery funding of £222,104 is provided over a three-year period. There will be workshops, courses for carers, health clinics and social events plus a wealth of information for anyone affected by dementia. The hub, and the new dementia services, will be under the guidance of Jacqui Swindells, CEO of Abbeyfield Ferring.

Jacqui said ‘We’re delighted to officially open the hub and the new services which have been in place since the end of lockdown. The funding will ensure Worthing’s Dementia Friendly Co-ordinator role will continue as well as partially fund our Stay Active and Stay Social Services. There is shared space and hot-desking facilities for health professionals so that people can drop in for advice, support and service information.’

Covid has had a huge effect on dementia services locally and an information hub has always been on Dementia Friendly Worthing’s wish list.

The joint working arrangements will include bi-monthly memory cafes, host the Worthing Town Cryers (Alzheimer’s Society) social action group, and provide opportunities to work with GP surgeries and dementia nurses and the dementia assessment team.

The hub is open to anyone with dementia, their carers or family members. Opening hours are on our events calendar.

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Dementia Friendly Worthing Schools Video

Dementia Action Week in Worthing sees Dementia Friendly Worthing launch a video for schools’ assemblies

We have a host of events, virtual and otherwise, during Dementia Action Week 17-23 May, 2021. The most innovative of these is a pre-recorded assembly for children in local primary schools. 

Dementia Friendly Worthing has been working with pupils from Our Lady of Sion School to ensure the video is interesting and informative for their age group and relevant to PSHE on the curriculum.

Any school is welcome to watch and use the video which is available on You Tube. This was put together during lockdown and runs for just 14 minutes, an ideal length for any lesson. The video enhances children’s understanding of how people can live well with dementia in the community. It includes an introduction by Worthing Town Crier, Bob Smytherman, and explains through interviews, facts, a bookcase analogy and messages from children who are proud to be dementia friends.

If you are a local Worthing school, and would like to arrange for your pupils to have a free, one hour interactive session delivered by a trained volunteer and Dementia Friend Champion, then please get in touch with Lynsey at info@dementiafriendlyworthing.org These sessions can be delivered in person or via Zoom dependent upon situations and preferences. During the session, your staff and pupils will learn about dementia and how they can help create dementia-friendly communities. 

Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend and every action counts towards making the next generation dementia-friendly.

For our other events during Dementia Action Week visit our events page.

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Time for Dementia Sussex restart

Local families affected by dementia are being invited to take part in Time for Dementia, an award-winning programme, to help train the healthcare professionals of tomorrow and improve dementia care.

The Time for Dementia project, supported by Alzheimer’s Society, pairs families affected by dementia with undergraduate students, helping to better educate them about life with dementia and the challenges that come with it.

From September, Brighton and Sussex Medical School medical students will be taking part and Alzheimer’s Society are now seeking families in the area who want to make a difference to training health professionals.

The Time for Dementia programme has been embedded as a core component of the curriculum at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and University of Brighton along with two Universities across Surrey and Devon with a range of undergraduate health care students. So far, more than 1,600 families and 4,200 students have taken part in the programme.

You can hear what some of our families think about taking part here and here.

Evaluation of the programme has shown huge improvements in students’ knowledge and attitude towards dementia. Additionally, students report that they have gained knowledge of what it might be like to live with dementia; that their confidence and skills in communicating with people with dementia has improved; and that they have more awareness of the role of carers.

If you would like to know more about the project please download the leaflet or if you know someone with dementia and a family carer who would like to take part, please get in touch with timefordementia@alzheimers.org.uk or call 07483 137539. More information can also be found at alzheimers.org.uk/timefordementia

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National Lottery Funding – Press release

National Lottery Funding for a Worthing Dementia Hub, innovative day services and support for people with dementia and their families

Dementia Friendly Worthing and Abbeyfield Ferring Society are delighted to announce a 3-year project to support people living with dementia and their carers. The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, is supporting the dementia project to the tune of £222,104 for three years.

Jacqui Swindells, Chief Executive at Abbeyfield Ferring, who will oversee the Worthing Dementia Hub and respite services, said, ‘We’re delighted to have been successful with this application. The funding will ensure the continuation, for three years, of Dementia Friendly Worthing’s Co-ordinator and provide partial funding for a Stay Active and Social respite service. The money will help support isolated carers and people living with dementia in the Worthing area, and most importantly, set up a new Dementia Hub. The hub will consist of a shared space for carers and people living with dementia to drop in for advice, support, and services, and where professionals can hot desk. Premises in Goring High Street are currently under offer and we hope to open in early summer.’

Chairman of Dementia Friendly Worthing Steering Group, Bob Smytherman echoed Jacqui’s delight, adding, ‘This funding will allow us to continue to work closely with our partners Abbeyfield Ferring and is vital to maintain the work of our valued Dementia Co-ordinator. Lynsey has been working throughout Covid to support local people, mainly through online events with carers, people living with dementia in the community and extending our work with schools especially, Our Lady of Sion school.’

Helen Bushell, Senior Head of Regional Funding for London, South East & East at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are delighted to award Worthing Dementia Hub this funding, which will have a massive impact on the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Through the development of a Dementia Hub, local people will have improved access to important information, support and services that will help them in their day to day lives.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, organisations like this have played a vital role through the pandemic in helping people with dementia and their carers build connections and tackle feelings of isolation and loneliness.”

National Lottery players raise £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on dementia services during the past twelve months and charities are yet to re-instate services before the lockdown is fully lifted.

The funding will provide signposting, information hubs in the community and work with other local dementia alliances. Events such as bi-monthly dementia cafes and support for carers to help access small funds such as the carers wellbeing fund. The hub will host the Worthing Town Cryers – a social action group made up of people living with dementia who are very active in the Worthing area. It will also provide opportunities to work with GP surgeries, the dementia assessment and crisis team and the Dementia Matron. The hub will be open daily for anyone with dementia, their carer or family and have hot desk facilities which health and dementia-specific workers can use.

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Easter Concert for people with dementia and carers

Our first intergenerational Easter Concert was held virtually on 31 March and went out live on Facebook. What a success!

Over 1,000 people participated and interacted through Zoom and the live stream. We were joined by people in care homes and in their own homes; children and a nursery school; proud parents who watched their children singing, acting, delivering monologues and playing the violin.

The Alzheimer’s Society group, the Worthing Town Cryers, put together Easter poems and the whole programme was compiled by Tim Wilkins, Service User Involvement Officer.

Chairman of Dementia Friendly Worthing, Bob Smytherman, compared the afternoon and ensured we ran to time and the concert was brought to a close with a special ‘Thank You’ from the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Dr Tim Fooks.

Ric Gray encouraged everyone to join in with the singing of traditional Easter songs. 

Dementia Friendly Worthing focuses on the community and making things happen. This was no exception and we want to thank everyone for taking part. 

Reverend Hazel Sherman; Little Elms Preschool; Our Lady of Sion School – Roman, Skye, Flora, Mr Steve Jeffrey; Megan Worsford Gwyn – Osca Romeo; Carol Glover – Alzheimer’s Society; Lynda Basford – WDAA Secretary; Worthing Town Cryers – Stan & Joan, Connie & Bryan, John & Joyce, Nigel and Mary.

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Blue Peter Badge for Carol Concert singer

We were delighted to feature Megan, a young singer from Worthing, in our virtual Christmas Carol Concert and to hear that she had been awarded a Blue Peter badge for her singing in care homes and virtually. Megan sang ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ to the delight of our viewers and their carers.

Megan’s grandparents both have dementia and Megan has been singing free for care homes pre-covid. We heard that she had been missing the experience due to Covid-19 and invited her to play a part in our virtual Carol Concert for people with dementia and their carers. She was an amazing guest soloist and everyone enjoyed the sparkle she brought to the Carol Concert.

Her school said that ‘Megan earned her third Blue Peter badge which was a special edition Ed Sheeran music badge. Since the age of eight, she had been singing in person at various nursing homes and events. What a star! She should be really proud of her badges and she fully deserves this one!’

Thank you Megan from all at Dementia Friendly Worthing.

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Claim your council tax discount

How to claim the ‘severely mentally impaired’ council tax discount if a member of your family has dementia or is, as they class it, severely mentally impaired.

There are thousands of people each year who are entitled to this benefit and who can be missing out on about £400 a year. We have written about it previously and know that people who have impaired memories do not like to think of themselves as being severely mentally impaired (SMI). Unfortunately, until the terminology is changed, it will remain. We will be talking to MPs about this label and see what can be done. Not everyone diagnoses with dementia will be classed as having SMI, you can look on your diagnosis form, contact your consultant or your GP.

At the moment, council tax bills are arriving through the doors of everyone and they are not particularly good at explaining that people who have a mental impairment, can claim a discount. Well, why should they – they are saving money.

The underlying causes of the medical diagnosis of SMI could be dementia (including Alzheimers), severe learning difficulties or something else. As Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert says, ‘having an underlying condition does not automatically mean a person is ‘severely mentally impaired’. They just have to be defined as having SMI and permanent social functioning.

If you, or a member of your family has SMI, they can be disregarded for council tax purposes – just like students are.

If you live alone and have SMI, you should not be paying any council tax at all.

If you live with your carer – you are entitled to a 25% discount. When you put in a claim, you need to specify that you require a discount because you are living with someone who is severely mentally impaired. 

To qualify for the reduction, you need to be medically certified as being SMI and be in eligible for (but NOT necessarily receiving the allowance) of at least one of the following benefits:Disability living allowanceIncapacity benefitAttendance AllowanceSevere disablement allowanceIncrease in disablement pensionUnemployability supplement or allowanceConstant attendance allowanceIncome support (which includes a disability premium)Personal independence payment (standard or enhanced daily living component)Armed forces independence paymentDisability working allowanceUniversal credit

Some councils will inform you that you need to be receiving these benefits – you only have to be eligible to receive them and not actually be receiving them.

HOW DO YOU CLAIM?

You contact your local authority and ask them for a claim form to register for a council tax discount.

You will then need a doctor’s diagnosis. GPs are not allowed to charge you for this certification. You may just be asked to give your doctors details.

Council’s do vary. Here is Worthing and Adur’s link

If you have already paid, or want to get a rebate on an earlier year (it can get backdated) you will need to write to your local authority separately from your claim. You don’t need to explain why you didn’t apply earlier.

You may be able to claim if the person you lived with who had SMI, has since passed away. 

If you have been rejected for a discount, you can appeal. In these circumstances, please use this link to the Valuation Tribunal Service. 

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Report on Steering Group Meeting 26 Jan 2021

Update on the work of Dementia Friendly Worthing and minutes of the steering group meeting

We held a virtual steering group meeting on 26th January 2021 and were delighted to welcome Tamara, Poppy, Daisy, Kyle and Roman from Our Lady of Sion School who are our young representatives.

The meeting covered a lot of ground and you can download a copy of the minutes here. We had an update regarding local services and when they were hoping to start.

Planning for Dementia Action Week was discussed and it was agreed to make it an online event in 2021. 

Our Dementia Friendly Co-ordinator, Lynsey Tran gave an update on the virtual events, the tablet lending scheme, intergenerational work and children’s dementia friends sessions. 

The Memory Assessment Service (MAS) had produced a New Way of Working document. Lynda Basford gave a short presentation on this extensive document and you can download her report here.

Jo Tuck from Healthwatch attended and gave everyone an update on Covid-19 vaccinations and explained that all the latest updates can be found on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.

Bob Smytherman  confirmed he was a Vaccination Champion and would share information for us to post on this website.

A small working party was agreed to look at future funding options.

Next meeting 16 March 2021.

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Read about dementia service updates

Our January newsletter is twice the size due to the new lockdown service updates, diary dates for the spring and news of the activity bags which we gave out before Christmas.

We will start off with the good news stories as we were very busy in December with lots of virtual festive activities. These included the Sing-a-Song and Smile sessions where we were joined by Little Elms pre-school. This was an emotional time as many people were missing their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We are looking forward to the pre-school joining us more regularly.

With Lottery funding, we put together some Winter Activity Bags which were delivered to isolated older people in the community and brought them some festive cheer. These included Home Instead’s Activity Books and Christmas Cards from local schools including Sion, Little Elms, Ferring Primary, St Andrews Secondary School and Worthing Young conservatives. 

We also worked with Downsbrook Primary School who wrote 200 Christmas cards for older people living in care settings or in the community and filmed a special Christmas Carol Concert which was sent out for them to watch. Look out for more intergenerational projects later this year. 

Please download the newsletter here for the rest of the information about service updates from:

Alzheimers Society, Abbeyfield Ferring, Guild Care, Memory Assessment Team, Wishing Well, Dementia Tech, Carers Support West Sussex and Time to Talk. We have also added some new information under Our Carers Section. 

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Dementia Friendly Worthing AGM

The AGM of Dementia Friendly Worthing, or the Worthing Dementia Action Alliance, as it is also known, took place on Tuesday, 1 December. It was held virtually due to Covid-19.

The Annual Report explained how pop-up hubs had stopped in March 2020 along with face-to-face Dementia Friends Sessions. However, Memory Cafes had been very successful up until the lockdown, and much had happened despite Covid-19. 

Much had reverted online including social events, information events, dementia friends sessions and new Sing-a-Song and Smile events. We participated in the Worthing’s online Mental Health Week and worked with a variety of organisations to provide information on Falls Prevention, Financial help, online security and carers support.

If you wish to read the complete minutes, they are available to download here:Dementia Friendly Worthing 2020 AGM minutes