The last 12 months has been an incredibly busy one for WDAA as it became apparent that we needed to establish the Alliance as a separate organisation in order to move forward and secure funding.
Dementia Alliances are committed to transforming the health and social care outcomes for people affected by dementia. The Worthing Dementia Action Alliance is one of the local alliances, made up of people and organisations who have come together to create a dementia friendly town.
What do we do as an Alliance?
We promote best practice and enable it to benefit people living with dementia and their carers.
We learn and divulge information on the latest trends and innovations from health and social care. We share this information through meetings, our website, social media and events.
And, we campaign with like-minded organisations to influence those issues which affect people with dementia.
We are actually very proud of what we have achieved over 5 years, and it is all down to everyone’s dedication from the volunteers on the steering group to working with people and organisations like yourselves.
Over time, we had recognised the need for a paid co-ordinator role to ensure the Alliance grew and was sustainable. Last October, we held an inaugural AGM and adopted a formal constitution; voted a Chair for meetings, a Chair for the Steering Group and voted in a steering committee.
In our Constitution, we agreed the following:
- to hold an AGM meeting within 15 months of the first meeting
- that only signed up members of the Worthing Dementia Action Alliance could vote – one vote per organisation
- that each steering group member had to be a member of the Alliance or, a carer or past carer with relevant experience of dementia.
The formal constitution provided the means to open a bank account and apply for a wider range of funding.
In November we heard that our application for a part-time co-ordinator had been turned down by two trusts but we decided to apply to the WSCC Members Big Society Fund by their December deadline with the proposed post being hosted by the Abbeyfield Ferring Society.
In early spring, we were informed the application was successful and went commenced a recruitment process to take on a part-time coordinator to support the running of the Alliance and drive our ideas forward. The post would commence at the beginning of June. We had 11 candidates, interviewed five and we were very pleased to find such an enthusiastic person with a wealth of experience in dementia.
The Co-ordinator job description included the organisation of meetings, appointing speakers, Dementia Friends sessions, liaising with partnership organisations, persuading GP surgeries to take up the initiative and encouraging local organisations, such as schools, to be more involved with making Worthing more dementia friendly.
To support Lynsey’s role with equipment and to maintain our online presence and publicity for the Alliance we were also successful with some funding from the Sussex Community Foundation and welcomed the Worthing Lions support for paying our organisation’s insurance. Further sponsorship was obtained with what we felt was an appropriate promotion on the website by one of our founder member organisations.
The last 12 months have included talks on:
- LPAs and Capacity
- Haviland House and their progress towards Butterfly Home status
- West Sussex Dementia Framework – the review and survey
- The Carers Health Team
- Western Sussex NHS Hospital Trust on their Carers Passport; the Charter for Carers and the benefits – free car parking; night-time stays; meals for carers.
- Special Care Dentistry and preventative measures that dentists can recommend for those recently diagnosed with dementia.
- West Sussex Carers Support
The Library Service offered dementia friendly screenings in the lecture theatre and hosted Connie’s Colander, a play performed by the Human Story Theatre which explored the effect of dementia on a mother and daughter.
Engaging with other organisations and groups led us to discussions on the merits of dementia friendly football and promoting free short courses at the MET College for people undertaking dementia care (either employed or unemployed).
Students from Sussex University filmed for short dementia documentary on caring for someone with dementia and we were grateful that three carers from the steering group found time to be filmed. The documentary can be found on our website.
The annual Carol Concert last December led by the Worthing Town Cryers was a very special event and you are all welcome to attend this year’s coming up on Friday 7th.
Fine Marketing promoted Dementia Friendly Worthing at the Chamber’s Business Exhibition in February which led to new members and more dementia friends.
May became a busy month for the volunteers on the steering group. We had planned well for Dementia Awareness week and were pleased to welcome a number of local parish churches – St Mary of the Angels and the St Vincent de Paul Society and St Marys Broadwater as new members and Dementia Friends. We supported Southdown Leisure’s Live Well Worthing Day at the Worthing Leisure Centre.
Our Dementia Action Day event on May 23rd combined awareness and inclusion. We were very grateful to Stagecoach for the use of an open-top vintage bus which was used for publicity in the town centre during the day. We were also very thankful to Worthing’s Town Cryer and his bell-ringing for ensuring no-one missed us as we drove twice to Ferring, through the streets of Worthing and back along the seafront. On both trips, we took people with dementia and their carers along with us for the ride and stopped for refreshments at Abbeyfield in Ferring where we spoke to more people about dementia.
In June, we welcomed Lynsey, who in her first 6 months in the role, focused on connecting with existing member organisations and businesses previously signed up to the Alliance. In addition to supporting them through their action plans, part of her work has been to encourage more people living with dementia and their carers to be able to speak out about the changes needed in their community.
Her work with member organisations has led to some exciting developments in the way of Pop-Up Hubs which have become a new way for the Alliance to meet with the community and to signpost PLWD and their carers to services they may not have accessed otherwise.
Worthing Library has hosted a Pop-Up Hub every month alongside one-off Pop-Ups at Worthing Leisure centre and Broadwater Medical Centre.
Working together with Worthing and Adur Council we have started the process of creating Dementia Friendly parking spaces in the town centre and 30 Worthing parking attendants have become Dementia Friends.
We’ve also been working with the Worthing Town Cryers to make council run spaces more accessible. Dementia Friendly audits have been undertaken at Worthing Theatres, Portland House and the Town Hall. The Connaught Theatre audit has resulted in dementia-friendly cinema screenings and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Lynsey has also been working with GP surgeries to encourage them to become dementia friendly based on the successful plan at St Lawrence Surgery. Phoenix Medical group have become members and Broadwater Medical Centre have given the Alliance space during their flu clinics. Worthing Medical Group has joined the mailing list and hope to become more involved in the new year.
Our first dementia friendly dentist signed up to the Worthing Alliance which fitted in well with our guest speaker Dr Robert Emanuel who explained about specialist dentistry at our Open Meeting during Worthing’s Mental Health Week.
MET college has also worked hard to develop themselves as a dementia-friendly college and become an active member of our Alliance. This will develop and should see the Alliance work with the Brighton Alliance’s Coordinator to ensure consistency for staff and students across their sites.
Many local businesses are actively getting involved with becoming dementia friendly. Lots of premises have been visited and dementia friends sessions held at HMRC, Equiniti, Santander and the Co-op.
There are estimated to be 2,000+ people living with dementia in Worthing and numbers are projected to rise to 3,000 by 2030. This is one in every twelve people over 65.
Two-thirds of people with dementia live at home and there are estimated to be 6,000 family and friends caring for people with dementia in Worthing and working in our community.