Cartridges Solicitors have been established as a “high street” legal practice for over 40 years, since 1973. We began as a legal aid practice; we have diversified over the years, as market conditions have changed. What has never changed is our location: St Thomas, Exeter. We are a prominent local business and have a strong community presence. Changes We underwent a set of major ,once in a generation, changes, including our move to new premises on 1st May 2015. This enhanced development of new areas and styles of work in the dual context of this internal overhaul, and radical changes in the legal services market. Our Aims We aim to be an independent and local legal business with outstanding community integration. We want to deliver excellent legal services that are accessible to all parts of our community including people living with dementia, their friends and families. We have strong links with Age UK who have neighbouring facilities in Cowick Street. We are also close to many homes where older people live fully or semi independent lives, including sheltered housing. There are many extended families within St Thomas spanning several generations of our clients whom we have assisted through what are sometimes difficult milestones in the family lifecycle, such as death and divorce. Many of our older clients are still living nearby with the support of their extended family and/or paid carers, including in residential care and nursing home. We intend to be local champions, nationally renowned.
- 29 August 2018
- South West
- Local Alliances:
- Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA)
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?
Title: Raising Awareness of Dementia
Description: By encouraging our staff to become Dementia Friends, and for some to aspire to be Dementia Champions, we can raise, maintain and improve awareness within our firm and our local community to enable those living with dementia and their carers and families to better understand what this means and thus making helping those living with dementia in day to day life more manageable. By raising people’s awareness of dementia we can try to lose the stigma which is attached to those living with dementia and help people to understand and be more conscious of the way they treat those living with dementia, often being a little more patient in our busy world can be enough to the person living with dementia. We held an Dementia Friends session for all Cartridges Law staff in May 2016. Staff who missed this or have subsequently joined the firm have become Dementia Friends by other routes. We now have our own Dementia Champion who holds Dementia Friends Sessions for staff and members of the public.
Title: Educating in the benefits of Planning Early for the Future
Description: As none of us know what is around the corner, the earlier people put plans in place for their future the better. Many people do not like to think of scenarios for if and when they are diagnosed with an illness or equally consider the implications of them passing without having made a Will. Without these plans in place at an early stage, before any diagnosis, this can affect how involved those diagnosed have an input into who helps them with things like their finances, who will help them to make decisions about their future medical needs, and who will deal with their personal effects on death, and also who will benefit from their estates. With early planning the client is able to choose the people that know them and love them to help them. This will make it much more likely that their wishes are understood and adhered to.
We offer some free information events about planning ahead in our local community which are consciously, dementia friendly. We will also offer such sessions to relevant support groups and organisation e.g. memory cafes. Including local businesses.
Title: Ensure the Client Environment is as dementia friendly as possible
Description: We moved across the road to new offices in May 2015 and were able to plan client areas with dementia friendly principles in mind. We now have signage which is designed to ensure for example that toilets are well marked with pictorial signage.
Title and Description: Partnership with and support for the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance 2019 calendar.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
Explaining to clients that putting plans in place for the future at an early stage is important. This can assist them, their carers and families in understanding how best to live well with dementia. When no plans have been put in place at an early stage and a diagnosis has been provided late on some occasions this can mean that it is too late for a client to put plans into place that they are able to be involved in. Most people have heard of “Dementia” but there is limited knowledge from the community as a whole as to what this can mean and how those diagnosed can “live well with dementia”. With more and more people now becoming “Dementia Friends” hopefully this will to alleviate some of these problems.
Dementia Friends Training For Staff
Our Dementia Champion, Karyna Squibb of our Private Client team will continue to train all new staff as Dementia Friends, and to offer refresher training, so that genuine awareness of the challenges facing people living with dementia is nurtured and maintained throughout all aspects of our business.
- Being implemented
Budding Friends Fundraiser
We had an excellent evening at our fundraiser for Age UK Exeter's Budding Friends project last Thursday evening. Thanks to everyone who came along. Talking about the project, what it means and how it supports those living with dementia and their carers was very emotional at times. There were impassioned talks by Veronica Gosling from Studio 36 who hosts the art workshops and then from Penny and Martyn of Age UK Exeter. Penny spoke about the other projects Budding Friends supports like the allotment, music memories and carer support groups. They need funding to keep it running there is huge demand!
Donations of £580 were given on the evening and Cartridges are matching that so a total of £1160 has been raised specifically for the Budding Friends Project. Lots of other fundraising possibilities have been discussed so hopefully they can reach their target. If you'd like to donate or learn more about this much needed resource get in touch. The target is £5000.
Volunteering at Age UK (Craft Activities)
During Dementia Week 2018 we are planning on volunteering at Age UK to help support them in delivering crafting activities for those that they assist. By volunteering, we are hoping to build upon the support that can be offered to people with dementia, but also those who are directly or indirectly affected by it as well.
Advising on the Legal and Practical Aspects of Planning Ahead
We will continue to offer ,free of charge, our professional but accessible and jargon-free presentations to a variety of business and community organisations in Exeter and beyond on the legal and practical aspects of planning ahead, such as Lasting Powers of Attorney, and so-called "living-wills", and to take the opportunity wherever possible to encourage awareness of the EDAA, and the benefits of becoming involved as an organisation, and for individuals to become Dementia Friends.
- Being implemented
As part of Dementia Week 2018 we are planning to host a cake sale in order to raise funds for Budding Friends which is a group at Age UK Exeter that supports both those with dementia as well as their carers.
The funding that is raised as a result of the bake sale will help contribute to the funds that Budding Friends have available to them in order to maintain the support they currently provide as well as hopefully continuing to extend / build on that support.
Legal Drop In
During Dementia Week 2018 we are planning to have a Legal Drop In service to allow those individuals with dementia, or those who have relatives / friends with dementia, the opportunity to seek advice as to how the condition may affect the individual from a legal point of view.
This involves discussing the preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of attorney and highlighting the need to prepare these documents at an early stage to ensure that the relevant protections are in place. We will also be able to advise individuals on how they can seek a deputyship order for those who may have now lost capacity.
Dementia Friends Session
In 2017 we will be holding our third Dementia Friends session and, as before, we will invite local colleagues in the St Thomas Community and Traders Association not only to participate and become Dementia Friends, but also to join the EDAA. In this way we hope that St Thomas will continue to work towards becoming one of the most dementia friendly places there is!
Budding Friends Exhibition
On 14th December 2016 we held a private viewing of the art exhibition for the Age UK Budding Friends artists, which we are proud to be showing in our public reception over the winter / spring. All the artists are living with dementia, including carers, and we hope the exhibition and it's information boards and photos about the Budding Friends Art Groups at Studio 36 are a great way to showcase the colourful art works and to underline the key message of EDAA by illustrating to our visitors how many people can live well with dementia.