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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool

The Archdiocese of Liverpool is one of 22 Dioceses that make up the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. Its Archbishop is the Metropolitan for the Northern Province, made up of eight dioceses which cover the north of England. The Archdiocese includes a network of 172 parish churches. Established as a diocese in 1850 and as an Archdiocese in 1911, it serves a large geographical area covering Merseyside north of the Mersey, part of West Lancashire and the Isle of Man and has a Catholic population of about 500,000 with an average of over 50,000 attending church services each weekend. In the Archdiocese there are 230 Catholic schools and colleges and its social care agency is the Nugent Care Society (already affiliated to the Dementia Action Alliance).

1 January 2020
North West
Care, Charity, Community organisations, Education Sector, Faith Groups, Schools, Voluntary
Local Alliances:
Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance , St Helens Dementia Action Alliance , Sefton DAA, Warrington Dementia Action Alliance, Untitled, Wigan Dementia Action Alliance, Halton Dementia Action Alliance , West Lancashire 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?

Among the 50,000 people who attend our church services each weekend there are a significant number of people living with a dementia and their carers. Our clergy, Eucharistic Ministers, SVP members (Society of St Vincent de Paul), Bereavement Teams, Funeral Minsters and chaplains to hospitals and care homes are also ministering to a large number of people with a dementia who are unable to attend church. 

Our vision is to treat people living with a dementia with respect, to deliver a person centred service that is based on Catholic teaching and will utilise the skills and resources in the wider Catholic community and to enable those with dementia to fulfill their pastoral and spiritual needs, both in the church and in the wider community. 

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

One of the main obstacles will be to overcome the negative perceptions people may harbour about those living with a dementia.

We are still building up our knowledge of the current level of skills and awareness in the community relating to dementia.

There will be practical problems when looking at making churches dementia friendly.  The age of some buildings may limit the level of change possible to facilitate a dementia friendly environment.

Limited human and financial resources will affect the project and timescale of the necessary changes.

The project and the proposed developments will be dependent on the goodwill and active participation of local volunteers.

2. Actions

  • To make the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends awareness programme available in all our parish communities.

    The Dementia Friends awareness programme will be provided where possible by parishioners or diocesan personnel who are already Dementia Friends Champions, and in other areas directly by Alzheimer's Society. The long term aim would be for every parish to have a Dementia Friends Champion who would take an active part in developing a network of Dementia Friends within the church and parish; using the programme’s online resources to share ideas and good practice with groups and local community services, and work in partnership with people living with dementia and their carers.


    2019 - Fourth Quarter Update

    12 new champions were trained at the most recent session hosted in the diocesan conference centre, bringing the total of church-based volunteer champions who have been trained to over 65. Sessions continue to be held in parishes and other organisations and the work in schools is expanding rapidly.

  • To include the Dementia Friends awareness session in the training of key personnel.

    We will include the Dementia Friends awareness session in the initial training of all new Eucharistic Ministers, Bereavement Teams, Funeral Ministers and Permanent Deacons and in the regular in-service training offered to our Bereavement Teams, Funeral Ministers and Clergy.


    2019 - Fourth Quarter Update

    The Dementia Friends session is now embedded in the regular initial training courses for Eucharistic Ministers, Funeral Ministers, Bereavement Teams and Deacons and issues related to dementia are treated in inservice courses for all these groups.

  • To provide training to our diocesan surveyors in relation to dementia friendly environments.

    To encourage compliance with the DAA’s Environment Checklist by providing training to our diocesan surveyors based on that document; to ensure that the needs of people with dementia are considered in all future building projects and in the regular reviews of existing buildings.


    2019 - Fourth Quarter Update

    All the diocesan surveyors have participated in a Dementia Friends Information Session. Two members of the surveyors' department have attended conferences on Design for Dementia. A Design for Dementia guide for repairs, refurbishments and new build projects in our parishes is in preparation.

  • To review the pastoral care of diocesan priests living with a dementia.

    The Episcopla Vicar for Sick and Retired Clergy and his Advisor have reviewed the pastoral and spiritual services and physical facilities that priests living with a dementia are receiving in the community and in care facilities. They have designed an assessment process and they offer to priests nearing retirement a pre-retirement training session which will include dementia awareness.


    2019 - Fourth Quarter Update

    A support pack for on reirement for priests, entitled ‘Planning for the Future’, has been approved by the Archbishop’s Council and circualted to those approaching retirement. It includes advice on legal matters (including the offer of a free will-writing service and low cost help with Power of Attorney applications), procedures for advocacy on behalf of retired priests who lack mental capacity, and options for provision of care.

  • To hold an annual Dementia Friendly Christmas Carol Service.

    Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP leads this annual Dementia Friendly Carol Service in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King each December.

    It features the ‘Songs we Remember’ Dementia Friendly Choir  which meets fortnightly at the St Thomas of Canterbury church hall in Waterloo and involves pupils from two primary and two secondary schools in singing and presenting a nativity tableau each year, who are preapred by having a Dementia Friends Information Session in their school before the service takes place.

    All parishes within the archdiocese receive an invitation to send people to the Carol Service and all the Care Homes in the Merseyside region are invited to bring their residents to the Carol Service. 

    The Carol Service is open to all, especially those living with dementia, supporting someone living with Dementia, or anyone of any age who just enjoys singing carols. No tickets are required.


    2019 - Fourth Quarter Update

    The fourth Dementia Friendly Christmas Carol Service was held in the Metropolitan Cathedral on 19th December 2019 and was greatly appreciated by those taking part.