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Dementia Matters in Powys

 

Dementia Matters in Powys

 

History and Background

Dementia Matters in Powys (DMiP) came into being in September 2016, growing out of the ‘grass roots’ approach of the Brecon Area Dementia Friendly Community. Brecon has long been forward thinking in its approach to dementia and in 2013, it was the first town in Wales to be granted the status of ‘Working Towards Becoming  Dementia Friendly’ by the Alzheimer’s Society.

As a result of the success of Brecon Area Dementia Friendly Community, DMiP was formed in 2016 with the support of Powys County Council and the Big Lottery Fund.

Main Priorities

DMiP aims to drive change through five priorities so that people affected by dementia are enabled to exercise choice and control over their own lives and remain active members in their own communities for as long as possible. DMIP are committed to seeing the whole person and ensuring that he or she is central to decisions that affect their life:

  1. Listen to me! Building communities that support and listen to the voice of those living with dementia and their carers so that their needs can be fully recognised and can inform and influence community support, services, strategies, policies and plans.
  2. Tackling Myths and Stigmas. Building communities that tackle myths and stigma around dementia, raise the profile and show high level of public awareness and understanding of dementia.
  3. Promoting, Independence, choice and control. Building communities that encourage people with dementia and their carers to seek help and support at the earliest opportunity in order to remain independent.
  4. Being supportive and Inclusive. Building communities that are supportive and inclusive and provide education, practical advice and opportunities for people living with dementia, their carer’s and family members and allied professionals.
  5. Partnership Working. Building Dementia Matters in Powys with people living with dementia in order to develop as a valued strategic partner in Powys.

So How Does This Work on a Practical Basis?

To give you a flavour of how DMiP works on a practical basis, we have included an overview of some of the main areas we are developing with a particular focus on our Dementia Meeting Centre work.

Dementia Meeting Centres

With Dementia Meeting Centres (DMC’s) developing in 11 countries globally, DMC’s are a unique way of supporting people affected by dementia. DMC’s have at their heart an ‘adapting to change’ approach that skillfully enables people to adapt to the practical, emotional and social changes that living with dementia often brings. Not just for the individual with dementia, but for their partners, friends and families.

By intervening as early as possible, it is possible to maintain independence and wellbeing for those living with dementia. International research has demonstrated that people given access to Dementia Meeting Centre support were enabled to remain at home for considerably longer then people with dementia without such support.

DMiP opened the first DMC in Wales and the Brecon group goes from strength to strength. There are plans to open four more with the next one’s to  open shortly in Ystradgynlais and Llandrindod Wells. The Brecon Meeting Centre runs every Thursday and hours are 11.00am till 3.00pm.

A unique aspect of the DMiP’s Meeting Centres is the importance that is placed on all of the members interests. These interests shape the program of events that are produced in a  monthly  ‘What’s On’ leaflet. This has ranged so far from sessions on crop circles to boxing. It is always and eclectic and exciting mix of sessions with meetings taking place at our usual base in Kensington Church Hall and also out at different venues.

Alongside setting up additional  Dementia Meeting Centres in Powys we are also able to give advice and support to other organisations and groups who are interested in setting up something similar in their own community. To this end, we offer a day long ‘Adaption to Change’ training module, the first of which was held in June and will be offered throughout the County.

Many people living with dementia are adapting to ongoing  and significant changes including sensory challenges in relation to sight, hearing, balance and the sequencing of movements.

By incorporating dance and gentle exercise including ball games, and other tasks that involve an awareness of space, it becomes easier for members to maintain the enjoyment of doing physical things for longer. 

 

Because the Meeting Centre is for families, friends and carers, it creates a great space for couples and other family members to just relax and be themselves. The natural support that develops between member’s creates a friendly and  inclusive culture that is the foundation of all aspects of our meeting centre work. 

DMiP are also involved in a range of other activities including:

Developing DEEP networks (Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project) across Powys.

Developing sensory approaches to people living with advanced stages of dementia.

Intergenerational work

Dementia Care Pathway development

 

Dementia Friendly Community work

 

 PAVO Support

Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations has supported DMiP in a number of vital ways. this includes practical support with their application to the Big Lottery Fund.

Sam Bolam Chief Officer of DMiP added ‘It is a widely recognised challenge for fledgling third sector organisations to accommodate the essential business of securing funding. PAVO have helped immeasurably in this process. The help they gave was crucial in ensuring that all projected financial forecasts included a comprehensive account of all costs, so that all future eventualities were factored in to the funding bid. This gave us a great deal of support in feeling confident in our application. It culminated in our bid being awarded the full amount we were looking for, securing our future for the next three years’.

Contacting DMiP

If you are interested in any of the training or support on offer from DMiP please contact us 01597 821166 or email info@dementiamattersinpowys.org.uk. for more information please visit www.dementiamatterspowys.org.uk 

Red Kite Hospital Volunteers

The Red Kite Pilot Scheme starts at Llanidloes Hospital in January 2018. Role descriptions have been completed. Powys Volunteer Centre (PVC) worked with Newtown College to encourage students to apply for the volunteering opportunity and South Montgomershire Volunteer Bureau (SMVB) found a moature candidate. In this Case Study we will focus on the four College Students.

College Students

Four Health and Social Care students applied for the Red Kite Volunteering Scheme. They joined the SMVB applicant - Diane for an interview with Senior Sister Julie Lewis on the 19th December at Llanidloes Hospital, where the first pilot will start in January 2018.

Feedback form Julie Lewis on the interviews was positive and they are now completing the application process.

PTHB Hospital Volunteering

Volunteers play a very important role in the NHS, especially in a rural county like Powys.

Our volunteers are a key part of the services we provide, making a difference and enriching patients lives. Our volunteers commit time and energy for the benefit of others in our community.

How excited are you?

'fantastic opportunity to gain relevant experience to help with my career aim of becoming an adult nurse' Ruth

'looking forward to putting theory learnt in the classroom into practice' Ben

'a great chance to develop existing skills and learn new ones' Lucy

'it will be interesting to see how the hospital works and what the staff do to care for the patients. It will give me an invaluable insight' Amy

As one of our valued volunteers we can offer you opportunities to:

  •  Brighten someone's day
  • Make new friends
  • Learn new skills, with training provided to support you in your role as a volunteer
  • Learn about how health and care services are provided in Powys and help us to improve how we deliver those services
  • Find out more about healthy lifestyles and how you can help both yourself and your loved ones improve you own health and sense of wellbeing

Powys Volunteer Centre Support

It's taken 18 months of joint working between PTHB and PVC to get to this stage. Volunteering policies needed to be checked and a policy developed to enable 16 year volunteers to join the scheme. PVC worked with PTHB on role description for volunteers, and once the decision was made that Llanidloes would be the pilot for the scheme, we took the project to Newtown College and presented it to a very excited group of Health and Social Care students.

Although initially four students were put forward, many others are awaiting the success of the pilot so they can join the scheme in one of their local hospitals.

On our travels we were even approached by a mother of a student at Shrewsbury College, where there is also interest to get Involved. 

Good news travels fast.

16+

One of the benefits of the Hosptial scheme is that we can now share with other organisations that the PTHB accepts 16+ year old volunteers rather than the usual 18+ This will encouraging other organisations to re-examine their policies

Events & Presentations

During the past 6 months we have been attending a number  of events and presentations at the various Colleges, all working towards the Hospital Volunteering Scheme and more young volunteer involvement in general. The Red Cross and SMVB shared presentation platforms with us and we put together volunteering workshops for the students as well.

More placements

Arthritis Care and the Red Cross are some of the organisations where we found placements for students following our activities at the Colleges.

What's next? 

  • Next will be the start of the pilot scheme
  • Length of the trial period is yet to be decided
  • We will be liaising with other Hospitals, preparing them
  • We will be monitoring the pilot
  • Working with the Connectors and our Delivery partners on the next phase
  • After a successful trial period it will be rolled out throughout Powys

Ystradgynlais Volunteer Centre and Recycling Centre

Ystradgynlais Volunteer Centre opened in March 1984. In the early days the centre operated from a rented room in a shop in Ystradgynlais town centre. In 2004 a building in the town was purchased and made DDA compliant, the move opened up more opportunities to help the community. Two mobile scooters were purchased which were rented out and other aids to help disabled people were also made available. The current manager Caroline Massey commenced her employment in 1999 which coincided with the centre growing from strength to strength with the setting up of community based activities which included a craft group being set up and more active volunteering opportunities being available.

After the move to new premises a tool store started which came about after two ladies donated tools to the centre that belonged to their late husbands, this initiative got men involved in volunteering many of whom were ex miners, the 'tool shed' gave these men an interest and an opportunity to spend time in the company of people with a shared interest. This initiative continues to be a success as refurbishing tools is a service that is still provided to this day.

In 2010 the recycling project as it became known moved to a much larger premises when it took over the old Remploy factory on the outskirts of the town. The much bigger premises opened up yet more opportunities. The YVC as a charity also moved here in 2014 to collate its services in one place, and plays a vital role in reducing waste going to landfill sites. Donated pre owned furniture is collected from local communities by volunteers using the Centres vehicle and then put on display in a large viewing within the Volunteer Centre as well as being advertised on social media. The furniture is available at reasonable and competitive prices which provides a useful service to the community particularly those on low income. Furniture packages are available for people setting up home for the first time or re-locating in difficult circumstances for example moving out of refuge or being released from prison.

 

 

The wood department collects unwanted timber the wood is used to make new recycled items including garden furniture, bird boxes, trinket boxes and more. This has a number of benefits from saving wood from being sent to landfill sites, making items which engages volunteers from the community in the production process as well as generating income from the sale of the products.

Finished products are displayed within the centre and in the past also sold at summer shows which has proved to be a great way of raising awareness of the Volunteer Centre and its work

It does not stop there!! The shop sells all sorts of odds and ends that you would expect to see in a charity shop, bedding, toys, stationary, books, ornaments bicycles can all be found for sale.

Items for sale in the charity shop

The Centre also provides valuable services to the community and local organisations, hiring of mobility aids and wheelchairs. PAT testing at reasonable rates help organisations that use electrical items that need to prove compliance and office services including faxing, laminating and photocopying provide a service whilst at the same time providing much needed income to help sustain the Centre and the community activities.

The Volunteer Centre is also a hub for community activity during the week, regular activities include the weekly Department of Work and Pension Job Club which provides support to job seekers , Craft Club where the emphasis is on producing items out of recycled products, Ystrad Wood Turning Group use the workshops to make wooden items on a lathe, New gadgets which is a tutorial session on modern IT including tablets, laptops and mobile phones, South Wales Stick Makers meet weekly where a group including people in their 80's enjoy an afternoon of carving walking sticks and there is the Friday friends and neighbours club ( FAN) which provides members of the community from different backgrounds and nationalities the opportunity to meet and make new friends whilst at the same time practice their language skills. This has become a valuable help to the 6 new Syrian families who have been rehomed in Ystradgynlais in the last 18 months.

All this could not happen without the large number of volunteers who carry out roles that keep the Centre operating. There are drivers who make collections and deliver furniture, drivers who provide transport for appointments, dog walkers, small practical maintenance jobs, personal shoppers, sales teams who run the shop and furniture store, furniture restorers, wood workers, tool repairers there are even volunteers who place items for sale on e-bay!! The list goes on, in fact there are over 150 volunteers involved in making the centre the success that it is.

Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations plays a valuable role supporting third sector organisations like Ystradgynlais Volunteer Centre. Caroline finds the monthly e-bulletin which is sent to all members of PAVO very useful by keeping her up to date with changes in legislation such as employment law and data protection. Caroline particularly likes the way that the information is broken down in the e-bulletin to pick out the main points that organisations need to be aware of.

Funding information within the bulletin is another service provided by PAVO that Caroline finds very useful, Caroline say's " it enables me to quickly skim and see what new funders are active and could be useful to our Centre for project support. The e-bulletin doesn't get bogged down in technicalities but lists what is needed and where to go for specifics. It's much easier to take in and pass on."

Shakespeare Link

Shakespeare Link is a company and charity seeking to use Shakespeare for the benefit of the community, outside of theatre and academia. 

The charity's object is very simple - 'the general education of the public through the means of Shakespeare'. Shakespeare is a springboard to communication and debate, and over the years Sue and Phil have worked with numerous groups including the Institute of Family Therapists, prison inmates, senior citizens in the Have-a-Go workshops, many theatre companies, and set up the Deaf Project, to work on signed performances.

To read and see more click on the link here.

Tools For Self Reliance Cymru

Tools For Self Reliance Cymru is a charity and company limited by guarantee based in Crickhowell, Brecknockshire.

They aim to improve the lives of African artisans and their families by providing them with quality refurbished recycled tools and training

To read more click on the link here.

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