More people with dementia are being admitted to A&E

Doing dementia support differently

Creative, community-based dementia support is being expanded across Somerset with the help of grants from Somerset County Council.

Over the six years the authority is looking to invest more than half a million pounds to kick-start and extend projects and groups that run day-time activities for people dementia and provide respite for their unpaid carers.

The Council’s scheme – which should eventually see £565,000 of grants awarded – is supporting grass roots, community projects that offer innovative ways of providing support that encourages people with dementia to socialise and take an active part in their communities.

More than £100,000 has been awarded so far, with projects either up and running or about to launch including schemes in Wellington, Taunton, Wells and across the county:

  • Reminiscence Learning, based in Wellington: a local charity working with people with dementia and their carers is being funded to open two extra days a week for respite activity sessions, offering one-to-one and group sessions, a hot lunch and counselling for carers.
  • Dementia and Arts Programme run by the Creative Innovation Centre (CIC) in Taunton: being funded to run 10-week programmes throughout the year supporting people living with dementia and their carers through art classes and music.
  • The Active Social Minds project: a three-year project run by the Heads Up charity based in Wells. It will be running a range of memory workshops offering a range of different group activities including art, music, cooking and gentle exercise.
  • The Filo project: offering daytime care for small groups within a host’s home. Already well-established in Devon, Torbay and West Dorset, it is being funded for training to develop the project in Somerset.

Grants have also supported the:

  • Parks Active Living Group in Minehead which runs two lunch and social groups.
  • Feel Better with a Book project which supports people to read aloud together. Funding will help extend the project that’s already being delivered in libraries to those with memory loss and dementia.
  • Lawrence Centre in Wells which offers activities, lunch and social get togethers for older people. The grant will help extend opening hours, develop a volunteer driving scheme, and refurbish the kitchen and furniture.

More projects are in the pipeline and any organisation or individual interested in providing innovative projects for people with dementia or memory loss are can apply for grants.

Stephen Chandler, Somerset County Council’s Director of Adult Social Services, said: “The number of people diagnosed with dementia is growing across the country and it’s important that we have support that’s creative, varied and encourages people to socialise and get involved in their communities.

“These projects do just that, either expanding excellent work that’s already happening or helping new projects get up and running. Whether you’re referred to them by social care of get in touch directly, this is the kind of support that we want to encourage and help flourish.”

The County Council’s contract with the Somerset Partnership to deliver dementia support expired at the end of March this year. Last summer the Council sought people’s views about what kind of support they most valued, running an online survey and a series of events across the county.

Anyone wishing to apply for a grant can find out more outline to check eligibility

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