Swan Advocacy - Dementia Advocacy Service is passionate about supporting people with memory loss and dementia. We provide a flexible service which empowers people to express their wishes and views. We also recruit train and develop volunteers from the local communities to expand the service we can offer, helping to develop sustainable community services.
- 1 June 2017
- South West
- Charity, Voluntary Sector
- Local Alliances:
- Taunton Dementia Action Alliance, Bath & North East Somerset
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?
Swan Advocacy launched their new Free Dementia Advocacy Service in June, thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund. This service will support those living with memory loss or dementia to live well by supporting them to self advocate and build plans which enable them to remain in control of decisions which need to be made by having their voices heard and considered by decision makers, through their living well plans and advocacy services.
The Dementia Advocacy Service works with people living with memory loss and in the early stages of dementia to create a ‘Living Well Plan’. The service supports people to record their views, preferences and wishes, either independently, or supported by a volunteer advocate if they would like. Swan will continue to support these people to review and update their plans on a regular basis, so they are kept up to date.
This service covers Wiltshire, Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset and will look to recruit and develop more than 50 volunteers to work directly with people living with memory loss or dementia, supporting them to create their own personalised Living Well Plans’
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
The challenges Swan Advocacy Dementia Advocacy Service has in delivering the seven outcomes from The National Dementia Declaration is limited to the challenges of the project growth and uptake.
We have to promote, engage and develop those who will volunteer and also use the service in a sustainable way, as the project funding lasts for three years in total. in order to succeeed in this we need to engage volunteers from agencies and communities who will train to deliver the support to people to create their living well plans and also to develop the skills to offer citizen advocacy within their local communities.
The service employs four staff, mostly on a part time basis to create and generate the links and networks to ensure the necessary engagement which will ensure the service reaches those who will benefit from it, often those who are not yet known to any other supportive agencies or services.
Evolving our living well plan media options is a further challenge, to ensure that all of our development work is created with those who will
We will support people concerned about, or experiencing memory loss or dementia to complete a living well plan.
We will engage with people from rural areas and those from minority community groups to support increased levels of social connection, reduced levels of anxiety and greater feelings of control over future decisions about their care or support, through the completion of a living well plan, and ongoing support to help the person to share this plan with those who need to know and understand their choices and wishes.
We will also recruit and train people from the local communities to act as advocates and support others to complete their own living well plans.
- Being implemented
We will support people with memory loss or dementia to remain connected in their local communities
We will run focus groups and community based social connection groups in order to engage and build relations with people who are concerned about or are experiencing memory loss or dementia. We will work with other community based groups wherever possible to ensure a collaborative person centred approach for the people we aim to reach and their carers. We will run these session with volunteers and staff
We will evaluate our work and will be gathering information for analysis on our impact through social connectivity and its effect on the feelings of anxiety and control that people feel (aiming for reduced and increased respectively).
We will recruit volunteers from the communities we are supporting people in, wherever possible
We have invested in the recruitment of a volunteer co-ordinator to work with volunteer agencies and to recruit train and support volunteers from the communities we are targeting to engage with. We aim to have people who have completed their own living well plans go forward to support others in doing the same. We will provide a volunteer network alongside training and supervision for all volunteers. Where volunteers are already committed to another agency we will seek to provide the training and support required to enable them to offer living well plan support within their current work, by working collaboratively with other agencies and employers.
Our long term sustainability plan is based around a model of engagement from other agencies who work with communities and people who are concerned about, or are experiencing memory loss or dementia. We will in turn support the dementia friends programme by running dementia friends sessions for each and every volunteer information session and to our whole staff group, as well as community groups who we are engaging with, who have an interest in this area.