My name is Ewa and I am the current co-chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance.
What is Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance?
Together with Lizzie Edwards from Coventry City Council and Jeevan Jones from Alzheimer’s Society we have formed the Alliance to make progress towards Coventry and Warwickshire being dementia friendly communities. Being dementia friendly means making people with dementia and their carers better supported and included in their community life so they can remain independent and do not feel isolated.
The aim of the Alliance is to draw together local organisations that are willing to actively work towards becoming dementia friendly. We use the Alliance to be a forum to share ideas, identify joint actions for the future, and encourage other partners to join us. So far, there are 15 organisations signed up to the Alliance, these include: Alzheimer’s Society Warwickshire, Age UK Coventry, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue, Coventry Carers Centre and Warwickshire Library Service.
We also have a person living with Alzheimer’s (a form of dementia) and their carer actively supporting the Alliance in all aspects of progress being made, such as by sharing their experiences when accessing the community to help us understand barriers they face and making changes based on these.
The inaugural meeting of the group was held on 14th January 2014. The meeting was well attended by representatives from most organisations signed up. Members were excited about having a chance to network with each other and find out more about progress being made around this initiative nationally and locally. At the meeting we discussed details of the local sign-up process. We spoke about dementia related training options available locally that can help improve any front line staff’s understanding of dementia so that they improve customer service skills.
We also discussed plans around promoting work of the Alliance during this year’s Dementia Awareness week (18-24 May) and jointly identified other key partners to be signed up. I felt members were very enthusiastic about suggestions made around joined up approach to creating Coventry and Warwickshire a dementia friendly region and are looking forward to encourage other partners’ sign up.
We have set up a Yammer Networking Group for the purpose of Alliance members to share project updates, contact details and resources. Yammer is a secure, online networking website, widely used by a range of different professionals. So far, members have actively posting on Yammer their suggestions and comments on various project developments.
We have also produced a short video clip to make people aware of Warwickshire’s initiative and how people can become involved, this features a local couple talking about their experiences of living with Alzheimer’s. Copies of this DVD can be obtained for free by any organisation or business signed up to the Alliance or viewed on the Dementia Friendly Communities page on the Living Well with Dementia Portal.
I am excited about future progress of the group and am already looking forward to our next meeting during this year’s Dementia Awareness Week on Wednesday 21st May. At that meeting we will learn details of how to create dementia friendly environments, agree long term performance targets for the group and discuss future roles and responsibilities of the group. I hope that within time this group will become fully self-sustaining and will be led jointly by all its members.
How to Become Dementia Friendly in Coventry and Warwickshire
Any community groups, organisations and businesses signing up to the Dementia Friendly Communities recognition process will be asked to complete an action plan to describe what they are working towards and outline their next steps to become dementia friendly. Once this action plan is submitted and approved by all Alliance members, we will link you into the Alliance for any help and support you might need to progress your actions.
We will then provide participating organisations with our local Resource Pack, which includes:
- Environments Checklist
- Living Well with Dementia Portal marketing info
- List of learning resources freely available
- ‘Working to become dementia friendly’ symbol (sticker) which we would like for the signed up organisations to be displaying in public areas to make others aware of their commitment
- Dementia Friendly Warwickshire DVD
There will be regular reviews conducted with the Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance based on your action plan.
If you would like more details on how to sign up to become dementia friendly and/or if you wish to join the regional Dementia Action Alliance, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you to see how best to help you.
You can also follow us on Twitter: @DementiaCandW