Corsham Community Area

Background to area

The Corsham Community Area comprises the main town of Corsham and the distinct surrounding parishes of Box, Colerne and Lacock. It is a predominately rural area and it is a growing area – a trend which is expected to continue – and now has over 20,000 residents. From the latest demographic breakdown over 20% of the population is over 65 years old and the life expectancy is above county and national averages at 81 for men and 85 for women.

The area is geographically well placed south of the M4 with access to east and west and north to south major roads and railway stations in Chippenham and Bath. There is a high proportion of commuting into Corsham in particular for large employers such as the MoD while many residents commute out to the likes of Bath and Bristol and Swindon and further east. The car is the major mode of transport but there remains a need for public transport within the town and the surrounding rural areas. Reductions in public transport provision have adversely affected the increasingly elderly population and will continue to do so. There is strong support for a railway station in the town which is recognised in the Wiltshire Council level Strategic Plan and the local Neighbourhood Plan.

The area has many natural and historical visitor attractions and has a long and strong tradition of support and interest in all things cultural. From the national and international visitor interest in the unique surroundings and history of Lacock and the birthplace of photography, through the celebrated and still visible 16th, 17th and 18th century appeal of Corsham, its stone mines subsequently used as military installations, to the covered remains of a Roman Villa in Box and the engineering excellence of Isambard Kingdom Brunel with the Box Tunnel and to the Second World War links in Colerne and its natural setting in the Cotswold Area of Natural Beauty, there is much for residents and visitors to enjoy and tradition to be proud of and to build upon.

The area has a wide and diverse range of venues, facilities, and clubs and groups that meet an equally wide and diverse range of community needs and interests. Churches, town, parish and village halls all provide a natural meeting point and focus for their immediate area and for local residents. These are particularly important in rural areas where there are not necessarily the sort of facilities expected of modern life. Cinema is provided at Pound Arts Centre in Corsham and in halls in both Box and Colerne and many community and village halls host drama productions, cafes, dances and markets as well as the more usual community groups. Pound Arts is recognised as a hugely influential and important Arts Centre and community space with responsibility for a rural touring programme. The area also has a strong tradition of local pubs and social clubs that offer regular live entertainment catering for jazz, folk and rock tastes and providing a platform to encourage local talent.

The area has much to offer all of its residents - young, families and the elderly – and those that work in the area. The challenge and opportunity is to make it as inclusive and welcoming as possible for everyone who chooses to live in the area.

History of Work with Dementia to date

Work to establish a Dementia Action Alliance has come out of developing plans from the Community Area Health and Wellbeing Group established in June 2016. It recognises at the start the support and interest of the Corsham Area Board and the developing role of the Springfield Campus as a Health and Wellbeing Centre, initiatives already taken and planned by Corsham Town Council as part of its Strategic Plan to become a Dementia Friendly Community and the support of the local surgeries and Integrated Care Team taking a lead on Mental Health issues. This also builds on the considerable interest shown at different levels for Dementia Friends training, previous work to develop Safe Places and, through strengthening links with the Alzheimers Society, established groups such as Singing for the Brain. Under a heading of Safer and Supportive Communities the Group aims to ensure the Dementia considerations required for being a Dementia Friendly Community are linked to wider initiatives relating to care of the elderly and the vulnerable that are being taken forward across the area. A prime consideration is to bring together the interest and volunteer effort from different organisations pursuing similar aims to develop a more aware, caring and friendly community.                                             

The work will include encouraging the Parishes of Box, Colerne and Lacock served by the Corsham Area Board, that each have their own particular issues and initiatives relating to the care of their residents

Aims

  • To identify, consult and work with people with dementia and their carers to find out how best to support them to be able to enjoy living in the Corsham Community Area (Working towards a Dementia Friendly Community).
  • To continue to raise awareness by increasing the number of Dementia Friends in the community area
  • To provide a forum and structure for organisations and groups with a responsibility for people with people living with dementia and their carers to share initiatives and information, resource and skills
  • To continue to develop, co-ordinate and support initiatives that help care and make provision for people, including carers, living with dementia or other mental health issues in our community area.

Meetings

The steering group to develop the initial actions required to establish the Dementia Action Alliance will be the Corsham Safer and Supportive Communities Group, which is a sub group to the Health and Wellbeing Group. This small working group will help to drive the initiative and eventually to set up a DAA support structure of its own.   The Safer and Supportive Communities Group will initially meet according to need and to link with Health and Wellbeing Group meetings.

 How to Join

The Corsham Dementia Action Alliance group welcomes support from anyone who is interested in supporting the work of the group. If you would like to join or would like more information please email either Richard Rogers, Corsham Area Community Engagement Manager at Wiltshire Council - richard.rogers@wiltshire.gov.uk or Kevin Gaskin Corsham Area Health and Wellbeing Group – kevingaskinccan@hotmail.co.uk