Pioneer of Dementia Meeting Centres Delivers UK Seminar

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A leading Professor in helping people to live well with dementia has delivered an engaging seminar as the UK’s first specialist Meeting Centre has been launched.

The University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, has launched the first UK centre in Droitwich, which provides an opportunity for people living with dementia and their family and friends, to meet other people in similar situations and access information about other support on offer.

The Centre is based on a model successfully used in Netherlands, which was pioneered by Professor Rose-Marie Dröes, from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam.

In her seminar, held at the University of Worcester earlier this month, Professor Dröes explained the reason for the development of the Meeting Centres Support Programme (MSCP), its theoretical background and practical content, as well as the effects achieved with it in the Netherlands.

The Seminar was introduced by Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society. “Alzheimer’s Society is very excited to be involved in these pilots as they offer an integrated approach to support people with dementia and their carers,” he said. “By attending the meeting centre, people living with dementia will have access to recreational activities and psychosocial interventions. Carers will also be able to attend informative meetings, support groups and learn how to access vital support and care. The Alzheimer’s Society has committed over £100m to dementia research over the next decade and we intend to use this investment, and effective partnerships like this one with the University of Worcester, to continue to look at and test innovative approaches to dementia care.”

The first Meeting Centre in the UK was opened in Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire in September and a second Centre is due to open in Leominster in Herefordshire early in 2016.

This work is being carried out as part of a three year project, known as MEETINGDEM, supported through the EU Joint Programme - (JPND) and funded in the UK by the ESRC. The research is to investigate whether the Meeting Centres Support Programme (MCSP) can be implemented in the UK, Italy, and Poland. The University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) is leading the UK programme.

Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of ADS, said: “Having now successfully planned and opened one Meeting Centre and with another due to open in the next few months the Project has already attracted a great deal of interest from different parts of the UK and as part of the research project we have funding to run a small number of workshops between January –April 2016 for other communities which are interested in setting up Meeting Centres. We have, therefore, organised 3 workshops between January and March 2016. As we see this as a practical application for Dementia Action Alliances (DAA’s) who want to make a difference in their communities we are also hoping to hold further workshops in April in South East and North of England and are currently inviting communities with an interest in hosting these to contact us”.