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Chichester Area Mental Health Support Foundation - Chichester Lunch Club

We are the Chichester Area Mental Health Support Foundation (CAMHSF) which is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and a registered Charity (No: 1161733). Our Project name is the Chichester Lunch Club and we run from The Chichester Boys Club, 34a Little London, Chichester, West Sussex. Our service is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 noon until 4 pm. Our staff are qualified professionals with over 35 years' experience. We offer lunch, refreshments and activities in an informal social setting. Our service is provided for adults, generally older people, living with mental health problems, dementia and mild cognitive impairment. We also provide advice and support to carers.

18 April 2017
South East
Local Alliances:
Chichester 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?

The Chichester Lunch Club assists in the support and development of adults, generally older people, living with mental health needs, including early to moderate stages of dementia and mild cognitive impairment, by the provision of facilities for stimulation, social interaction, advice and recreation.  We assist Carers by providing respite opportunities and practical help and advice about the support networks available and how to access them.  We will sign-post our members to other support networks and assist in referrals and benefit applications, when requested.

Our project involves members in the running of the service giving them a sense of belonging and each person will take a responsibility that they are comfortable with.  Members decide what activities they would like to take part in and also make decisions about how they would like to see things develop in the future.

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

Maintaining a high level of experienced staff and volunteers to provide the support ratio of 1:5 which we feel is necessary to maintain an excellent level of support and stimulation for our members and their carers.  This is helped by our ethos of providing support to people with functional mental health issues as well as those living with dementia.  This has an extremely positive effect on everyone.  Those with mental health problems have a distraction from their own issues giving them a sense of purpose and can assist those living with dementia and provide help and friendship towards them.

Funding will always be a challenge in providing a service in the third sector.

2. Actions

  • All Volunteers, Staff, Helpers and Trustees to Become Dementia Friends

    All Voluteers, Staff, Helpers and Trustees to register as Dementia Friends and attend training sessions run by the Alzheimer's Society.  The information sessions will enhance working practices in ensuring a better understanding of those living with dementia are what they may be experiencing.  This will reflect in how support is provided to individuals.

    Being implemented
  • 'Thanks for the Memory' Singing Sessions

    All it takes is one song to bring back one thousand memories.  We would like to provide voice movement therapy sessions to those living with dementia and mental health problems. The aim is to stimulate and maintain a connection with those losing cognitive ability.  Even those whose deterioration is at an advanced level can be connected through music and sound.  The session is uplifting and will be done with individuals and the group as a whole.  The sessions encompass movement, speech and sound as well as music.  It can stimulate creativity bringing people and moments in their lives into focus to explore, express and transform with a new understanding.  Song, sound, movement and dance, can be used to express feelings that may be held in with the loss in verbal language.

    These sessions are uplifting and give a sense of well-being to those involved.  We have piloted these afternoons over the last year and they have proved to be extremely successful.  These sessions are emotional but a joy to watch when those living with dementia have a connection made and couples that are going through this journey together, have songs that are very special to them.  Each session will have approximately 40 people attending and they last nearly two hours.  Musical instruments are provided for those people who would rather not sing but enjoy joining in by providing rhythm with percussion.

  • Art Sessions

    To provide a monthly Art Therapy session to enable club members interested in art to explore different art mediums in a supportive and relaxed setting to develop cognitive stimulation and give a sense of enjoyment and fun.

    Art therapy has proven to be a powerful tool for people living with Dementia. More than giving them something pretty to look at or an exercise to keep them busy, it stimulates the brain. It stirs memories and can bring language back into the life of someone who struggles to speak. It stimulates the senses, can trigger dormant memories and encourages conversation. Whether they’re viewing or creating art themselves, they can use it as a form of expression, particularly individuals who can’t communicate verbally. People don’t necessarily recover lost words through this treatment, but can explore a new vocabulary. 

    Art therapy won’t eliminate the illness, but it can stimulate the brain in a new direction. The creativity and happiness that art brings can make all the difference in the life of a loved one who’s been progressively in decline.

    A wealth of research has demonstrated that participation in creative activities promotes health and well-being by stimulating curiosity and self-evaluation, by encouraging individuals to express themselves in meaningful ways, and by affirming their dignity and self-worth. There has been increasing use of the arts in healthcare over the last 20 years. This has resulted in a number of health benefits for patients – including reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, length of hospital stay and perception of pain. For patients with mental health problems benefits have included improved communication skills, self-esteem and behavioural change.