Connect Housing Association
Connect Housing is a charitable housing and support provider operating in West Yorkshire (across the whole of Leeds, Kirklees and parts of Calderdale and Wakefield). Connect Housing improves the quality of people’s lives through the provision of good quality housing in thriving, inclusive neighbourhoods, with support that empowers them. Connect owns over 1800 properties for all types of households, plus over 700 properties specifically for older people and housing for support for over 400 people with almost a further 200 affordable ownership homes. Connect Housing provides support services for a wide range of clients including older people, children, single homeless households and families and those people experiencing financial hardships.
- 31 October 2016
- Yorkshire and Humber
- Voluntary Sector
- Local Alliances:
- Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance, Leeds Dementia Action Alliance, Yorkshire & Humber 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?
Connect Housing has a number of core values essential to our business and these include giving respect to people, creating solutions, including the whole community and Connect can make a difference. Each of the values Connect has can have an impact on achieving the outcomes within the National Declaration.
Connect Housing has a wide range of support services amongst many different client groups and we are committed to providing services that are based on individual choice and need. We are committed to ensuring that customer facing staff, contractors and tenants groups receive dementia awareness training so they are better able to support clients and their carers in feeling empowered to ask for help at an early stage and to know where and what services are available.
Connect Housing works with a lot of different organisations in the communities we operate and with the help of the local Dementia Action Alliances we want to work with those organisations in a more structured way to create dementia friendly communities.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
One of the key challenges will be in terms of staff resources to attend the training sessions and also then putting the training into practice in terms of delivering support to people out in the communities we operate when staff members are already facing unprecedented demands on their time. Measuring the effectiveness of the training sessions will also present a challenge.
Financial constraint is also going to present a challenge in terms of ensuring that some of our communal facilities are upgraded to ensure they are more dementia friendly.
Another challenge could be in ensuring that other organisations in the communities we work with are as committed to dementia friendly communities as we are.
Dementia Awareness Training
We are currently providing dementia awareness training to customer facing staff, contractors and client groups as appropriate.
58 staff members have now had basic dementia awareness training, 10 additional staff have had dementia friends training, we have trained 3 staff members as "Dementia Champions" who have provided dementia awareness sessions to staff members (including our in-house reactive repairs team) and customer groups including our older people's COPS (Connect Older People Strategists). Connect has an E-learning training package on dementia awareness that all new starters complete as part of their induction process.
2015 - Second Quarter Update
2 new "dementia champions" have been trained to add to the existing one dementia champion. Internal dementia awareness sessions now being provided including to all our In House repairs operatives (4 November 2015) and our older people COPS group (26 November 2015). Further sessions will be provided where required.
Improve Physical Environments
Continue to make improvements to the communal living environments of our existing schemes including the decorations, flooring, lighting, signage and minor adaptations. To ensure new build schemes take into account dementia ‘proofing’ initiatives.
We have made improvements to a number of schemes designated for older people in relation to lighting, flooring, decoration and improved signage. Discussions have been held with Regeneration department to ensure dementia friendly design (and what this means) is taken into account at design stage of any new build schemes and when considering improvements to all schemes and also as part of a new office relocation.
- Being implemented
2016 - Third Quarter Update
Dementia Friendly design has been incorporated into our new community space "Thrive" at our new office location at Bond Street, Dewsbury. Thrive offers an attractive, welcoming meeting space for all customers including those with dementia.
To work with other organisations within the Kirklees DAA and Leeds DAA to ensure the services we provide reflect the needs and aspirations of the clients and communities we work with.
We have worked closely with the Alzheimer's Society in Leeds and this has resulted in a new dementia cafe "Hidden Memories" at a sheltered housing scheme (Hawthorn Mill, Lower Wortley, Leeds) that is run on the first Thursday of every month.
Connect Housing has also been talking to a number of different organisations within North Kirklees with a view to opening another dementia cafe at our new office community space in Dewsbury during 2016.
Connect Housing has actively worked with West Yorkshire Police on promoting the Herbert Protocol initiative and Connect Housing actively promotes this intitiative to our customers. Information shared and disseminated to all staff through Sharepoint and widely to customers through our quarterly newsletter "Get Connected" and West Yorkshire Police attended one of our COPS meetings in 2015 to promote.Connect Housing has worked with Huddersfield Mencap in relation to Safe Places scheme and Connect Housing is now a registered Safe Place in Kirklees from our new Bond Street offices in Dewsbury.
Connect Housing literature, website and marketing materials
Review our literature, website and marketing materials so this takes into account the commitment to being a dementia friendly organisation and to act as an additional resources base for our client groups.
Connect Housing has developed a Sharepoint site specifically for dementia awareness where a number of guidance documents and links to other organisations such as The Alzheimer's Society are located to act as guidance for Connect employees. Connect Housing has used this site to promote initiatives such as the Herbert Protocol and the dementia Awareness week in May 2015 and 2016.
Connect Housing is currently reviewing our whole website and we plan to have a section within the new website where more upto date and accurate information relating to dementia can be easily accessible for our customer base and the wider public.
- Being implemented
2016 - Third Quarter Update
The new Connect website has been delayed but work will shortly commence on the new website and there will be a section dedicated to providing up to date and accurate information on issues relating to dementia.
Develop a Dementia Strategy
To develop a dementia strategy in order to provide a clear focus for the commitment to become a dementia friendly organisation and to provide an accountable reference point for the organisation to follow.
2014 - Third Quarter Update
Connect Housing's first dementia strategy (2014-17) was approved by Connect Housing Board and included a detailed action plan of activties closely related to the KDAA & LDAA. This strategy and action is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure progress is being made.