Trowbridge Community Area Dementia Action Alliance

About the Trowbridge Community Area

Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire, lying on the western border of the county. Its position as county town is due to its good and early transport connections – both rail and canal, which lead to it being a major producer of clothing and woollen goods in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The modern Trowbridge Community Area covers 42 square kilometres, and is one of the most populous community areas in Wiltshire, with a population of around 35,000.  It is made up of five village parishes in a well farmed rural landscape, as well as the town itself.

Trowbridge is an area of new house building and inward migration, and provides shopping, education, employment and administration services for a wide catchment area. The town is also rich in heritage with iconic mill buildings and a museum. It has maintained its good rail and road communications and has ambitious plans for the future as one of Wiltshire’s leading towns.

The Background to Dementia Friendly Trowbridge

Alzheimer’s Support has been working to support people with dementia in East and West Wiltshire since 1990, and now supports people across the whole of Wiltshire. Its main office is based in Trowbridge and acts as a hub for advice and information for people with dementia and their carers.

The Trowbridge Health and Wellbeing Group was established in 2016 as a sub-group of Trowbridge Area Board. Its first major project was to support Trowbridge to become a Dementia Friendly Community by establishing a Dementia Action Alliance for the area

According to the Wiltshire Dementia Strategy 2014 - 2021, there are approximately 500 people in Trowbridge living with dementia.

In 2015 the following services existed exclusively for people with dementia and their carers.

  • Alzheimer’s Support head office offering information and advice
  • Alzheimers Support Day Club at Mill Street, Tuesday to Sunday
  • Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon Carers’ Group – run by Alzheimer’s Support
  • Home and Community Support Service – run by Alzheimer’s Support

There are an additional number of services, groups and places which are known to be welcoming to and supportive of people with dementia and their carers. These include –

  • Carers Support Wiltshire
  • Palmer Gardens, run by the Shaw Trust
  • Squirrel’s Tea Room at Hope Nature Reserve

Aims

The overarching aim of the Trowbridge Community Area Dementia Action Alliance (TCA DAA) is to make sure that everyone from the Trowbridge Community Area living with dementia (both people with a diagnosis and their carers) is respected and enabled to continue to participate in their own community as well as possible for as long as possible.

To do this the Trowbridge Community Area DAA will work in partnership across the community to develop practical actions to support those living with dementia and those who care for them. Organisations can undertake actions that are aimed specifically for people living with dementia and their carers or they can commit to making their services and activities generally more dementia friendly so that people living with dementia continue to feel able to participate.

The Trowbridge Community Area DAA has identified a number of specific areas of work to make Trowbridge more dementia friendly –

  • Raising awareness of dementia and how it affects individuals and their families and carers, and encouraging existing organisations, businesses and services to be more dementia friendly.
  • Identifying opportunities to support the growth of community groups

Raising awareness

The initial aim of the Trowbridge Community Area DAA is to encourage as many people, businesses, organisations and services in the community as possible to become dementia aware and dementia friendly through attending a Dementia Friends Information Session. This has been supported by Alzheimer’s Support,  and between September 2015 and October 2016 over 300 new Dementia Friends have been made  in schools, the fire station, the Civic Centre, churches, Wiltshire Council and many other places.

This is supported further by a group of Dementia Friends Champions who work together to organise and run Dementia Friends sessions in the area.

New community groups

In 2016 the Trowbridge Community Area DAA identified a lack of specific community services for people with dementia in the Trowbridge Area. The group has worked with Alzheimer’s Support to seek opportunities to support the creation of community services for people with dementia and their carers.

In 2017 two new community services were established for people with dementia, their carers and families.

  • Music for the Mind - a therapeutic music and singing group. Run by Alzheimer's Support and funded by The Trowbridge Health and Well Being Group for the first year. 
  • Trowbridge Health Centre Memory Cafe - run at Palmer Gardens. 

The Trowbridge Community Area DAA aims to bring together the good will and networks of its members to address these aims.

Dementia friendly activities in Trowbridge in 2016

  • In April a very successful Dementia Friendly Churches event was held in Bethseda Baptist Church. 70 people attended from a range of churches and learned how churches can support people with dementia and their carers.
  • Alzheimer’s Support launched a new community group – Tracks of my Years. Over 6 weeks people with dementia and their family carers create a playlist of their favourite music.
  • Alzheimer’s Support  have established a partnership with Holbrook Primary School. Over the 2016/17 academic year the pupils at the school learned about dementia and have become involved in the work of Alzheimer’s Support, particularly in the Day Club on Mill Street.
  • Around 20 Dementia Friends sessions run making over 300 Dementia Friends.
  • Dementia Friendly Trowbridge was launched on 23rd November at an even in the Civic Centre. A range of organisations and businesses from across the community took part and pledged to make Trowbridge more dementia friendly.

Future Plans

In 2017/2018 Dementia Friendly Trowbridge will continue to offer regular Dementia Friends Sessions at Trowbridge Library and to support organisations who wish to become more dementia friendly.

How the Trowbridge Health and Wellbeing Group works:

The Health and Wellbeing Group is the steering group for the Trowbridge Community Area DAA, meets every 2 months and brings together representatives from across the Trowbridge community, including:

Carer Support Wiltshire, Churches Together, Selwood Housing, Wiltshire Council, Alzheimer’s Support, West Wilts Multi Faith Forum, CCG.

The aim is to pool the knowledge and resources of this diverse group of organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in Trowbridge, with a particular emphasis on dementia.

How to join

The Trowbridge Community Area DAA welcomes support from across the community.  Businesses, clubs, charities and other organisations can become members of the Trowbridge Dementia Action Alliance.  If you are interested in joining, coming along to a meeting, having a Dementia Friends session or being involved in any way please contact either Mary Cullen mary.cullen@wiltshire.gov.uk  07709 245496.