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St James' Church Brightlingsea

St James’ Church is a Victorian grade 2 listed building in a conservation area in the centre of Brightlingsea. It is the centre for nearly all our Sunday and weekday worship, for prayer groups and a monthly Bible study group. In recent years, more use has been made of the building for school services, performances and concerts. It is one of the largest venues in the town with seating for up to 300 people. It has accessible toilets, an office, a kitchen, and chairs instead of pews.

16 March 2022
East of England
Faith Groups
Local Alliances:
Tendring Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Becoming a dementia friendly church is important to us for two main reasons. Firstly, the church and its activities are for everyone. We want everybody who comes into the building to feel they are welcome, that we offer a safe space, and that fellowship is extended to all. Our social and fellowship activities should be accessible to everyone. Ensuring that those living with dementia can enter with confidence, and enjoy their time with us, is an essential element of our Christian witness. Secondly, the spiritual support of familiar activities such as Sunday services and times of prayer should not be removed from individuals and families living with dementia. We therefore wish to be equipped to offer services that offer the comfort of the familiar, at a suitable pace, and with opportunities for everyone to contribute in whatever way they can. Receiving our dementia friendly accreditation will inspire confidence not only in those coming to the church but also in those who seek to serve the individuals, carers and families living with dementia. 

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Finding the best ways to become more Dementia Friendly. We are being assisted in this by Age Concern Colchester.

2. Actions

  • Dementia Friends

    We have hosted a Dementia Friends session for our team and members of the congregation to raise awareness and understanding of dementia.

  • Signposting

    Our pastoral team will maintain a list of local and national organisations that can offer support to people who are living with dementia, and their families and carers and we will signpost people to those where appropriate.

  • Environment

    We have undertaken a review of our building with Age Concern Colchester, looking at areas for improvement to ensure that people who are living with dementia are able to access our services. We are making adjustments where possible such as clearer signage for toilets and entrance and the team understand the need to be prepared to support people in areas that may cause difficulty.