Dr Jane Rowley
Our Empowerment Programme started in 2018.
We support people affected by dementia to find services in their area and if they cannot access the support they want we help people to develop groups, activities and events. We collaborate with people living with dementia and their family caregivers throughout all our projects as team members. We do this by facilitating what we call core group meetings, a cooperative meeting each month where people living with dementia make decisions about the activities they would like to participate in. We consult with members individually about the support they need, with structured conversations, surveys and one to one interviews. We work with people across the East Midlands who want to expand their social network. We are learning continually by listening to people who tell us about how dementia affects them and how they wish to live in their communities.
Our aim is that people affected by dementia can access peer support in the community and have the assurance of our help if they require it. We work to empower people with the tools necessary to embed peer support groups into their own communities. Groups are helped to apply for funds, use digital tools and supported with simple decision-making processes to build increased capacity for sustainable networks.
As a small charity we were able to respond quickly at the start of the pandemic, people approached us immediately to ask for support as many larger services were withdrawn. We modified and moved our work online and by the second week of lockdown we were running three online sessions every week. Group members were very open to support getting online and have attended consistently since March 2020.