New funding around Meeting Centres – what does it actually mean?

The Association for Dementia Studies has recently been awarded a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund to help establish new Meeting Centres in different parts of the UK. To help you understand what this actually means in practice, they’ve put together some information about the project.

First off, what is a Meeting Centre?
A Meeting Centre is a local resource, operating out of ordinary community buildings, that offers ongoing warm and friendly expert support to people and families affected by dementia. At the heart of the Meeting Centre is a social club where people meet to have fun, talk to others and get help that focusses on individual needs. Meeting Centres are based on sound research evidence on what helps people to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes brought about by dementia.

What goes on there?
The social club usually meets three days a week, supporting 15-20 members per day. A team of trained staff and volunteers provide an enjoyable and flexible programme of activities for both the person with dementia and their family carers. All activities are designed to help people adapt to the challenges that living with dementia can bring. This involves a chance to get together socially, be creative, get active, and share lunch. Family carers get assistance with practical and emotional issues, as well as being able to contribute to social club activities. Some family members use the opportunity to have a break from their caring role. Couples consulting sessions, social activities and excursions also help people to enjoy life together.

Ok, that sounds great. I think I’d like to set up a Meeting Centre in my town. Can I get funding from you?
The funding we’ve received isn’t to fund other Meeting Centres directly, it’s to enable us to provide support, guidance and advice to people like you, who are thinking about developing your own Meeting Centre. We’ll also be evaluating some parts of the project to gain a greater understanding of how Meeting Centres operate over time in different communities and situations.

What sort of support will you be offering?
We’ll be offering a wide range of support including:
• Workshops to provide further information to people interested in starting their own Meeting Centre
• A guidebook on how to set up and run a Meeting Centre following a tried and tested approach
• Sharing learning from other Meeting Centres, including potential opportunities to visit existing Meeting Centres and see them in practice
• Establishing an online community of practice where people involved in Meeting Centres can share ideas and support each other
• Developing and delivering training for Meeting Centre staff members
• Developing self-evaluation tools to help you evaluate the benefits and cost-effectiveness of Meeting Centres for people with dementia, their carers, and the wider community. This will be vital for your own understanding of your Meeting Centre as well as helping when you are applying for funding and marketing purposes.

Great, who can I contact to say that I’m interested?
Please get in touch with us using our dedicated email address meetingcentres@worc.ac.uk
By contacting us, we’ll be able to see where interest is across the UK and target our support more effectively.

I like what I’ve heard, but I’d like to think about things for a while. Where can I find out more information?
No problem, there are lots of options available.
• Visit our websites www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/meetingdem-jpnd.html and https://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/34388.html
• A list of publications from related studies can be found at https://www.meetingdem.eu/publications/publicatons-non-mcsp/
• A selection of videos can be found at https://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/meetingdem-jpnd.html
• Keep up to date with Meeting Centre news at our dedicated blog https://meetingcentres.wordpress.com/blog/
• Follow us on Twitter: @Meeting Centres #MeetingCentres