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Wincanton Dementia Action Alliance


Registered as a Dementia Friendly Community since June 2017

Dr Iain Phillips of Wincanton Health Centre is the Somerset lead GP for mental health and was key in promoting his home town to become a dementia friendly community and with the support of the health coaches at Wincanton Health Centre we organised our first meeting to establish a DFC Steering group on 30th November 2016


Wincanton is a small rural town bordering Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire and has an elderly community with many retiring to the area.  There is a large farming community who have to cope with the dangers around the farm and find living with dementia can make them feel lonely and isolated.  By raising awareness of the disease we hope the community will support local people living with dementia.

Steering Group Members:

The steering group has been established and brings together members of the community including the Town Council led by the Mayor of Wincanton, the Police and Fire Service, a local supermarket, pharmacy, Wincanton community hospital, the Balsam Centre and the Live at Home Team.  We have also invited three people living with dementia to join the steering group and there is a member from the GP Practice patient participation team, the local senior school as well as Wincanton Leisure Centre.

Aims and Actions:

The first action plan was to promote the Dementia Friendly Community and raise local awareness by inviting the community to attend Dementia Friends Presentations.  We have 6 members of the steering group who are Dementia Friends Champions.  Members of the steering group have already become dementia friends along with the staff at Wincanton Health Centre.

Wincanton have recently established a ‘Community Partnership’ this group of local businesses and support agencies have agreed to take the DFC on as their first project to bring the community together.

The Balsam Centre in conjunction with the health coaches at the local GP Practice has set up a dementia group known as ‘Memory Lane’.  The Balsam Centre has recently set up a second group to support patients who have been attending the Ridley Centre; which is a community support group for dementia patients and is based at the Wincanton community hospital.

Many local businesses are supportive of the project and there is a planned engagement event later in the year.  The project will be promoted by press releases, local radio and Wincanton Windows; a local on line news window.  We plan to run a poster competition within the local schools to promote the Dementia Friendly Community engagement event.

The senior school is planning a community day in March 2017, involving year 7 and 11 pupils working to promote the DFC and plan to attend a local dementia care home, followed by an assembly where pupils will be invited to pledge their actions.  The community partnership co-ordinator; Tom Barber also has meetings planned with the two primary school head teachers to promote activities such as those in the ‘Archie Project’.  We also plan to include a Dementia Friends presentation to include children, their parents and grandparents, bringing the generations together for the awareness training, the idea is for children to influence their parents to support the project.

The local supermarket; Morrison’s already recognised their customers were often elderly or confused and have appointed team members to support customers who need additional support.  They will also be considering introducing a ‘slow lane’.

All businesses who form the steering group have pledged to look at their signage and plan to invite a group of people and their carers’ who live with dementia to assess their facilities and access signs.

The Police and Fire service offer home safety checks and will be training their colleagues in dementia awareness and their approach to people living with dementia.

We plan to discuss setting up a web site at the next meeting to include sign post information for the community and professionals to local groups such as those run by the Balsam Centre but also those run by the local Alzheimer’s Society such as afternoon tea groups, bowls, singing for the brain and carer support services.

The Mayor of Wincanton is investigating creating a public ‘Dementia friendly garden’ planting forget-me-nots and introducing art work around the town promoting the Forget-me-not theme.

We have surveyed the local community and currently none of those surveyed were aware of what a dementia friendly community was, several had experience of caring for someone with dementia and all supported the idea.  We plan to re-survey the community in 6-9 months to monitor the success of the DAA in Wincanton.

How to join the Wincanton DAA:

We meet every 6 weeks.

 The local community can sign up to support the DAA in Wincanton and pledge their action by emailing: dementiafriendlywincanton@gmail.com