Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Powys Dementia Network - Summer 2019

by Jen Hawkins & Jackie Newey
Health & Wellbeing / Mental Health Information Officers

On Wednesday 17 July we attended the latest Powys Dementia Network event at the Football Club in Newtown. It was organised by our colleague Sue Newham, Engagement Officer in the team, and attended by a huge variety of organisations and individuals. These included Dementia Matters in Powys, Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, Powys Libraries, Hafren School children, Powys Teaching Health Board and people living with dementia to name but a few.

As always we will try to capture some of the spirit and information from the day below, but if you would like to find out more and / or attend future events then please get in touch - further details at the end of the post.

The last Network event in Brecon in February this year was also captured for the blog in Powys Dementia Network event - Housing.

Alzheimer’s Society & Dementia Connect - Kerry Phelps, Alzheimer’s Society Cymru

Kerry Phelps opened her presentation with some thought provoking statistics about dementia, stating that 1 million people live with dementia in 2021, a figure that is expected to rise to 2 million by 2050. The Alzheimer's Society celebrate their 40th birthday this year and in that time have learned a lot about how best to support people living with dementia.

In 2017 the society rolled out their “New Deal Dementia Strategy,” with their mission being to “transform the landscape of dementia forever.” The strategy comprises three pillars, a new deal on support, a new deal on society, (focusing on changing conversations around dementia) and a new deal on research, with the biggest investment in research to date. By 2022 they aim to “reach out to everyone from the time of diagnosis to offer help and deliver a universally accessible support and advice service.”

Dementia Connect is their gold star service through which the new deal dementia strategy is being rolled out. At present it supports 1 in 10 people with the aim to eventually be able to support 7 in 10 people. The central ethos of the strategy is focused on person centred support, planning to empower people to take control of their care.

Andrew Jones & Agnes McDonald of Powys Libraries Service

Brecon Library: Introducing the RemPod & the Past-Times Picnic Hampers - Andrew Jones, Powys County Council

Read & Remember is a new Powys Libraries initiative drawing on the value and the power of a shared oral experience - it’s all about sharing reading aloud creating nostalgic connections and sharing experience. Originally it was set up as an all-community activity, but as they worked with it library staff found that people from the dementia community were the most engaged. As a result staff built in extra resources and so the Past-Times picnic hampers were created filled with nostalgic items to trigger memories.

The hampers are themed - people can choose from the Seaside, Transport, Animals, Gardening and Wildlife. Each hamper is full of nostalgic items which twig off memories from people’s past. The hampers can be used at events and have already proved successful at a number of care homes. They work well with relevant reading material. There is no cost involved and hampers can be reserved and transported between libraries in the county with advance notice, with one member of staff in the north of Powys and one in the south to transport them. 

The hampers were followed by the RemPods - amazing pop-up banners featuring large scale photographs of relevant scenes. On the day we enjoyed taking selfies in front of the Seaside RemPod - the only things missing were the actual ice creams! Other RemPods feature a shop and a 60s/70s living room and they work really well engaging people in initial conversation. Andrew said “it’s such fun watching how people open up and chat.”

Powys Library Service is keen to work with care homes, local clubs and societies to broaden the audience and give people who would not usually consider reading aloud some confidence.

Another top tip passed on by Andrew and Agnes is the carer's library card. Anyone who cares for someone with dementia in a personal or professional capacity, family members and friends of people living with dementia, are all eligible for a carer's card. This allows you to take out up to 20 books at a time with no library fines or fees incurred.

Frances Isaacs (who spoke about living with dementia) and Deborah Gerrard, Dementia Matters in Powys

Planning a Dementia Meeting Centre in Newtown - Deborah Gerrard, Dementia Matters in Powys

Deborah, the new Chief Officer at Dementia Matters in Powys, gave an update on plans for a dementia meeting centre in Newtown. The first Meeting Centre in the county opened in March 2017 in Brecon. The National Lottery Community Fund has now funded two further centres in Llandrindod and Ystradgynlais. Newtown will be No 4.

Dementia meeting centres are staffed by community development officers, facilitators and volunteers.They offer support, advice and information to people living with dementia and their carers. In the Netherlands, where the first centres were created in the late 1990s following research, there are now over 140 centres supporting 2000 people every day. Soon there will be 10 in the UK, and of these 4 will be in Powys which is an amazing development for the county.

Members find that attending the centres means that they can live in their own homes for longer and experience an increase in self esteem and feelings of belonging with a reduction in feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety. The Newtown centre is a partnership project between DMiP and Dementia Friendly Newtown. An Initiative Group has been set up to look at locations for the centre, volunteer recruitment and responding to the needs of local people living with dementia. The planned open day for the centre is Tuesday 1 October 2019 and if anyone is interested in getting involved in the meantime they should contact DMiP by emailing or call 01597 821166. Developments can also be followed on social media by connecting via Facebook or following via Twitter.

Hafren School Intergenerational Project - Children from Hafren School

Children from Hafren Junior school came along to share their intergenerational singing project with us. Three hundred staff and pupils at the school are trained as dementia friends, with two members of staff qualified dementia champions. Pupils from the school are actively involved with Newtown’s dementia community and can be regularly found at Newtown Library on Friday afternoons and Plas Cae Crwn on Tuesday afternoons. 

Carl Hyde, headteacher of the school, extended an open invitation to attend one of their sessions claiming that the “two most memorable afternoons of his 21 year teaching career,” were as a result of attending the intergenerational afternoons. Take a look at our video of the pupils on our Dementia Network day or pop down to one of the afternoons to experience the project first hand.

Frances (left) and Glenda (right) who spoke about living with dementia
Middle - Anna Story of Bangor University

“In it Together, Dementia Voices in Mid & North Wales” - Anna Story, Frances Isaacs & Glenda Roberts

Anna Story of Bangor University was funded by a Dementia Innovations Working Together Grant to work with Dementia Matters in Powys and DEEP* to make a short film capturing the voices of people with dementia in Mid & North Wales. Anna introduced the film premiere with two of the participants - Frances and Glenda - both of whom live with dementia. They said “we enjoyed making the film - Anna is so easy to talk to. We had great fun.”

To capture footage for the film Anna visited different dementia groups across the area where people meet to have fun, laugh and support each other.

The film is aimed at three audiences - people living with dementia, the general public (showing that people with dementia can have fun), and care professionals where it can be used for training purposes. Watch the film in 
English or Welsh 

*DEEP stands for the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project – it is the UK network of dementia voices. DEEP consists of around 100 groups of people with dementia – groups that want to influence services and policies.

Eira Meyer (Advanced Care Planning Champion at Newtown Hospital)
and Heather Wenban, (Dementia Lead, Powys Teaching Health Board)

My Life, My Wishes - Heather Wenban, Dementia Lead, Powys Teaching Health Board 

Heather Wenban lead an informative and interesting session about advance care planning highlighting the fact that decisions we make about the end of our lives are just as important as how we choose to live our lives.

To find out more about this important initiative please see our earlier Health & Wellbeing Blog from June this year, “My Life My Wishes - Live Well Dying Matters,”

Community Transport in Powys - Sarah Leyland Morgan, Powys County Council

Sarah opened her presentation with a useful definition of community transport stating that “community transport is there to underpin the transport network where it doesn’t adequately meet people’s needs.” Community transport is not a free service and is designed to support people, helping them to participate in their normal day-to-day activities in areas such as education and training, employment, health appointments and shopping.

Community transport is designed to feed in to the public transport network with three types of provision in Powys:


Ten Dial-a-Ride schemes operate in Powys provided by mini buses and MPV accessible vehicles (Multi Purpose Vehicle). Dial-a-Ride provides a door to door service, usually within a 10 mile radius where users are not able to use their concessionary passes. Membership schemes are usually available.

Community Car Schemes

These make use of of volunteers' cars with the travel costs being reimbursed. Not all community car schemes are membership based with trips often being to the hospital or longer, out of county journeys. 

Taxi Card Schemes

Currently there are two taxi card schemes operating in Powys. People in Montgomeryshire are supported with tokens of between £50-£100. The main issue with the schemes is a lack of taxi services in the area. Membership schemes are usually available where the service operates and often can be used within a ten mile radius.

Group Hire

Some third sector organisations offer group vehicle hire services, some offer a driver, with others you have to provide your own.

Powys Community Transport can support groups and communities in many ways. In the year 2018-2019 community transport has assisted people to make 5,778 trips to community hospitals and approximately 30,000 social and pleasure trips, to give just two examples.

Our next Dementia Network day is provisionally planned for Wednesday 17 January 2019 in Llandrindod Wells. Sign up to the Powys Dementia Network and find out about future Awareness Days by emailing or ringing 01597 822191.

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