Welcome to Dementia Friendly Kent

Dementia Friendly Kent

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Tonbridge Dementia Friendly Business Information Exchange

A summary of your project

The Dementia Friendly Business Exchange will be a network of Tonbridge businesses wishing to become and working towards becoming dementia friendly. The Exchange will be both virtual and real with e-mail support provided by BDFT (Building Dementia Friendly Tonbridge) expert members along with a minimum of 2 events per annum. The events will allow like-minded businesses to come together to share issues and ideas in serving a community of people living with dementia and their carers. Specialist training (beyond awareness) will be provided at the events. It is hoped in time to establish specialist groups – e.g. retail, professional services, leisure & tourism, etc and potentially a Dementia Friendly Business Buddies scheme.

BDFT has been active in recruiting the support of the local business community with many organisations now recognised as “Working to Become Dementia Friendy” and providing Dementia Friends sessions to owners, management and staff of businesses across the town. These businesses report similar issues which they are dealing with in isolation, unaware that other organisations are experiencing the same issues. Staff in front-line roles are asking for more support and training in providing services to people living with dementia in their communities. Over a dozen businesses came forward during DAW 2016 to offer support – asking what more they could do.

Please tell us how it reaches the outcomes

It is reported, only 45 per cent of people with dementia feel part of their community (Alzheimer’s Society, 2014). An important aspect of remaining living well in a community is the support and understanding of those businesses and services people engage with during part of their everyday lives. Shops, restaurants, banks, professional services, leisure centres, transport services, etc are all vital in maintaining someone’s ability to remain living well at home with dementia, maintaining their quality of life and overcoming isolation. In turn these organisations are recognising that to serve their communities they have to understand more about the needs of those living with dementia and what changes they can make to their environments, practices and information to better serve their customers. BDFT is committed to creating a Dementia Friendly Tonbridge and supporting businesses and services to understand the needs and overcoming challenges of becoming dementia friendly in their operations. From our success to date in engaging local businesses we realise that many are facing similar problems and asking for similar support from us. We want to enable businesses already engaged in becoming dementia friendly to come together to share ideas, issues and provide support to advance their learning and overcome challenges in meeting the needs of those living with dementia. Additionally we want to attract more businesses and services to come forward to work towards becoming dementia friendly by inviting them to events to find out more about our work and what they can learn from others. In time we hope to develop “Business Buddies” where a business already on the path to becoming dementia friendly can be a buddy to support a new business to understand and work towards their own goals. We will also use the Exchange to disseminate the practices resulting from the British Standards PAS 1365 Code of practice for the recognition of dementia-friendly communities in England. SUMMARY OF OBJECTIVES: To develop a Dementia Friendly Business Exchange to support businesses and services to gain knowledge and share ideas to work towards becoming dementia friendly; To provide a ‘hints and tips’ advice leaflet; To establish a small website and single point advice email address; To provide email support to businesses seeking advice; To run 2 Exchange networking and ideas events offering support and training; To investigate the development of a Dementia Friendly Business Buddies scheme; To produce tangible changes in business and services to become more dementia friendly; To engage those living with dementia and carers in the management of the project and assessment of its impact.

The ultimate beneficiaries of the Dementia Friendly Business Exchange will be those living with dementia and their families and carers in Tonbridge and surrounding areas who come to Tonbridge to access shops, leisure facilities and services. The immediate beneficiaries will be the staff and management of organisations through their enhanced knowledge and receiving of support in working to become dementia friendly. Businesses and services already showing interest include: Boots, Lloyds Bank, Castle Cars (taxis), Inspirations (hairdressers), Bubbles (laundrette), Warners (solicitors), The Old Fire Station (venue), Wetherspoons (pub/restaurant), Angel Centre (leisure centre).

The Dementia Friendly Business Exchange will provide specifically: Email support all year round to businesses, organisations and services facing challenges and wanting to make changes to become dementia friendly; the establishment of a small website and social media promotion of the project; 2 Events for local businesses, organisations and services to come together for facilitated discussion, networking and training to make changes to their environments, practices and information to better serve their customers living with dementia, their carers, friends and families. The events will also be used to disseminate information on associated initiatives such as ‘Shop Safe, Stay Safe’, Kent Search and Rescue’s ‘At Risk of Going Missing’ Form, Community Wardens, etc. The funding will be used for the development and provision of information leaflets for local businesses with ‘hints and tips’ specific to the local community, marketing materials to promote the Exchange, venue and refreshments for the hosting of the 2 events in the first year, contribution towards staffing of the events, contribution to the delivery of specialist training (beyond awareness), contribution to the development of ‘Dementia Friendly Business Buddies’ initiative, the development of a small website and single point of contact email for businesses in the Tonbridge area seeking to find out more information.

Please give details of how you will manage your project

The project will be managed by a team of around 6-8 people involving the named partners, wider members of the business community and those living with dementia and carers. The project will not employ any people directly but will contribute towards the costs of staff released from organisations to help achieve the project aims, e.g. manning the events. BDFT already has a strong team of volunteers (who were pivotal in the success of our activities during DAW 2016) who will support the project. Participating businesses and services will be asked to give staff time to support the project, undertake training and development, share ideas and become potential buddies.