Looking ahead to 2019….

Hello and a very happy New Year! It’s going to be a very interesting year…

Our priorities for the year to come have been set by people who live with dementia every day – people with dementia and care-partners, families and friends.

Over 2019, DFEL will be working in partnership  to ensure that people living with dementia are:

  • connected to the community
  • able to speak openly about life with dementia
  • spending time with people ‘in the same boat’ for fun and support
  • are able to access support beyond the one year of PDS
  • get better information and have more open communication with service providers, including round diagnosis and information


Dr Shirley Evans from the UK Meeting Centres Support Programme


At our Gathering in 2018, we started a conversation about  Meeting Centres with Dr Shirley Evans from the UK Meeting Centres Support Programme.  Meeting Centres are local social clubs for people with dementia and care-partners, research shows they are an effective way to support people living with dementia in the community, improving quality of life and helping people with dementia and care-partners to adapt to and live with dementia.

Since then we’ve  had conversations in North Berwick, Musselburgh, Haddington and Dunbar about Meeting Centres. We’ve been delighted that Friendship Groups have been joined by Community Councils, schools, Rotary, Area Partnership members and Carers of East Lothian  as well as local groups and projects.

Al. Z Heimer & DE. Mentia. Courtesy of Ken Campbell, Dunbar!

The main messages so far, in no particular order are:

  • it’s really important to have something to look forward to in life, friendship and fun
  • we need want to be connected to people of all ages across the community, not cut off
  • people want to have a say and influence decisions – eg. health, re-provisioning, transport, anti social behaviour
  • services need to join up better, things are too disjointed and not focussed round what people want and need
  • we need to look holistically and build on what’s already in place not duplicate
  • Post Diagnostic Support should for more than a year, there should be ongoing support
  • people want better information and want to be part of improving this
  • Day Centres are a valued and important source of help and support in our communities
  • Community Councils, Area Partnerships, schools etc are keen to work together

What Next?

The conversations will continue and we’ll start new conversations in other communities that are interested in finding out more.  We’ve had great support from Community Councils, Area Partnerships and local groups already and things are starting to happen.

We’ve a session on Meeting Centres  with the Third Sector, hosted by  RVS as part of their ‘Fancy a Coffee?’  series on 28th February at 9.30 -11 at the Star Rooms in Haddington. Please let Polly know if you  want to come along (Polly.Cooke@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk). 

The next Meeting Centre Support Programme Gathering will be March 19th and 20th 2019.  Shirley Evans will be joining us. We’re talking with DEEP, Tide and the Life Changes Trust asking them to work with us. We’ll let you know how plans are developing.

Want to help or get involved?

If you’re interested in getting involved with Meeting Centres  or any aspect of DFEL’s work, get in touch. This is going to be a busy year and we need all the help we can get!

Here’s to changing the world together in 2019!!



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  1. I have just started working in a care home setting and recenty went on a dementia training course which was interesting and well presented. I am now keen to find out more about what goes on in my local community to support people with dementia and their family/ carers. I realise I am new to this area and would keen to help if I could.

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